News: Council approves 30-cent part-timer pay raisePosted: 2011-06-10
Author: DNJ - Sam Stockard
MURFREESBORO -- The City Council Thursday night approved 30-cent pay increases for some 400 part-time workers with a 3.5 percent pay hike for full-timers as part of a $113.9 million spending plan for fiscal 2012.
"I just want to be fair across the board. I'll take that with the economy the way it is today," said Councilwoman Madelyn Scales Harris.
City Manager Rob Lyons had recommended a 25-cent pay increase for part-time workers, but last week Harris called for a rate that would mirror what full-time employees are to receive.
After studying the matter, city officials found the issue was complicated by the wide variety of part-time positions and hours. Giving different pay increases to what they termed "permanent" and "seasonal" part-time workers would create inequity. Instead, Lyons and Assistant City Manager Jim Crumley recommended the council choose the same rate for all part-timers, no matter what amount the council selected.
Councilman Toby Gilley, after doing some quick math, suggested the city roughly split the difference and give a 30-cent pay increase to all part-timers.
"It saves the city about $13,000 by hitting the center of that and still puts more money in the pocket of part-time employees," Gilley said.
Gilley estimated the increase would cost the city about $77,000 on top of its base pay of $2.5 million for part-time workers, who vary from summer lifeguards to basketball referees to golf course marshals, many of whom have worked for the city for years. A 3.5 percent pay increase for part-timers would have cost $87,700 more than the base, while a 25-cent pay hike would have added $64,600.
Council members also asked the city staff to study part-time pay rates in other "markets" so they could see how Murfreesboro's pay rate compares.
The council also voted unanimously to set the property tax rate at $1.2703 per $100 of assessed property value, keeping it at the current rate.
The city's budget revenue for fiscal 2012, which starts July 1, is $109.1 million, and it will use about $4.7 million from its fund balance to pay for the spending plan.
Council members did not discuss a proposal by Murfreesboro firefighter Bill Durbin, president of the Murfreesboro Firefighters Association, to raise pay for all city employees by 5 percent.
"The 3.5 percent is barely going to keep our head above water," said Durbin, who noted that some city firefighters are eligible for food stamps they're so poorly paid.
Durbin, who was the only one to speak at Thursday night's budget public hearing, said a fire department training facility is needed, in addition to a better fire communications system because many of the dispatches are "garbled."
The council also approved raising water and sewer rates $3.17 monthly to balance the Water and Sewer Department's $35 million budget plan. The plan is expected to bring in about $964,000 in revenue by requiring most customers to pay about $38 more annually.
Public hearings were scheduled for the night of July 14 for comment on requests by Carolyn Haynes, Terry Haynes, Lisa Haynes and Haynes Bros. Lumber Co. to rezone a 6.5-acre tract along Memorial Boulevard at Kings Ridge Drive from Office General-Residential (OG-R) to Commercial Highway and a 1.5-acre tract from Residential Single-Family 15,000 square feet (RS-15) to Commercial Highway; and another 11.9 acres from RS-15 to Residential Multi-Family-16 (RM-16) and 10.7 acres from OG-R to RM-16.
-- Sam Stockard,
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