Martinsburg City Council expected to vote on government employee raises

August 10, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Martinsburg government employees might very well get cost-of-living and merit pay raises this year after all.

The Martinsburg City Council is expected to vote Thursday on its budget and finance committee’s recommendation to give the municipality’s employees a 1 percent cost-of-living pay increase and a 2 percent average merit pay hike.

The proposal is part of the council’s agenda for their regular August meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m. in the J. Oakley Seibert Council Chambers at City Hall, 232 N. Queen St.

If put into effect, the pay increase would be made retroactive to July 1, City Finance Director Mark Spickler said Friday.

The raises will cost the city about $268,000, including benefits, according to figures reviewed by the committee earlier this month.

Aside from the pay hikes, the budget panel also recommended approval of an adjustment to the city’s salary wage scale.

In addition, the committee agreed with a recommendation to set aside $200,000 carried over from the previous budget year as part of a contingency plan to maintain the salary increases for the 2014-2015 fiscal year, as well, according to Spickler.

If budget conditions worsen, Spickler said cuts will have to be made after the second year that the pay increases are in effect.

Because the raises amount to less than 1 percent of the city’s general fund budget, Spickler said he doesn’t expect the pay increases for the city’s 150 to 160 employees will pose a budgetary problem in the future.

Aside from contingency funding for the salary increases, the council is expected to also act on the following allocations for the 2013-2014 budget, with money carried over from the 2012-2013 budget year:

  • General Development Fund, $44,930
  • Employee Retirement Fund, $50,000
  • Other Post Employment Benefits Trust Fund, $100,000
  • Computer system maintenance and support, $50,000
  • Fireworks funding, $10,000
  • Street paving and curbing, $350,000
  • Street department truck beds (two) and pickup truck, $58,0000
  • Contingencies, $38,505.
Unfilled building inspector and part-time code-enforcement positions in the city’s planning department and a utility clerk position in the finance department are among several unfunded requests totaling $12.1 million that will remain after the recommended budget moves are made, according to city documents.

Among other unfunded requests are $4.5 million for expansion of City Hall and $5.5 million for a police/fire station on the city’s west end.

The city’s 2012-2013 budget year ended June  30, 2013.

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