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City considers one-time $1,000 payment for full-time employees

Part-timers would get $200

March 10, 2013|By C.J. LOVELACE | cj.lovelace@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — If approved later this month, one-time payments of $200 also would be extended to part-time employees.

“It doesn’t go as far as we would like ... but it’s a start in terms of getting our employees some compensation,” City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman told Hagerstown City Council members Tuesday.

By June 30, the end of fiscal year 2012-13, city employees will have gone four years without a cost-of-living wage increase and three years without step-increase adjustments, Zimmerman said.

In a memo to Mayor David S. Gysberts and the five-member city council, Zimmerman and Michelle Burker, the city’s director of finance, wrote that the compensation is recommended during the current fiscal year to “help lessen to some extent the budget-balancing pressures we’re expecting for (fiscal year 2013-14).”

The city’s assessable property tax base has declined in recent years, Burker has said, and additional reductions might be coming in December, when the city’s triennial reassessment takes effect.

Reassessments for towns in eastern Washington County were unveiled in December 2012, resulting in an average decrease of about 10 percent in residential values, city officials have said.

The estimated cost of the $1,000 payments for 411 full-time employees is $442,443, which includes applicable federal income taxes paid, according to the memo. Payments of $200 to 39 part-timers would total $8,397.

The general fund would absorb the majority of the payments — $301,420 for the full-timers and $6,890 for the part-timers, the memo shows.

Burker said the remaining funds would be drawn from the city’s self-sustaining enterprise funds, meaning the Community Development Block Grant, electric, water, wastewater, parking and property management funds.

“We don’t think it would adversely affect the general fund or any of the enterprise funds,” she said.

The payments would be dispersed Friday, June 7, Burker said.

The city council did not take a formal vote on the measure Tuesday, but did reach a general consensus to proceed. A motion for approval of the payments is expected to appear on the council’s regular session agenda for Tuesday, March 26.

The city approved a similar one-time payment to employees in fiscal year 2011-12, providing $1,000 to full-time regular employees at a total cost of $448,000.

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