Crown Point looks at 3% pay hike for city employees
BY CARRIE NAPOLEON Post-Tribune correspondent September 16, 2013 10:22PM
CROWN POINT — A 3 percent across-the-board pay hike for all full-time city employees is moving forward despite a push to create a sliding scale raise system to prevent runaway top salaries.
In a special meeting Monday, the Crown Point City Council approved 6-1 the 2014 budget on first reading. Councilman Bill Feder, D-At large, voted against the budget.
No members of the public spoke out during the public hearing.
Feder said the city’s intent to provide a raise to employees and pay another 1.5 percent into the Public Employees Retirement Fund equates to a 4.5 percent gain for employees, an amount too high in the current economy.
Mayor David Uran and Clerk Treasurer Patti Olson said the 1.5 percent PERF contribution is mandated by the state and does not directly benefit employees.
Councilman Mark Schweitzer, R-At large, said his concerns lie with using a percentage to determine salary increases but any changes could wait until next year. Schweitzer said using a flat percentage increases the high-end salaries disproportionately to the average pay and over time will create an ever increasing gap between the two ends of the pay scale. Other options could include a sliding scale or a flat-rate increase, such as 50 cents an hour.
“I maintain it is unsustainable to do a blanket, across-the-board increase,” Schweitzer said.
The city will see about $1.75 million in new revenue, with about $1.3 million of that coming from the new public safety income tax and county economic development income tax, and after capturing the 2.6-percent growth factor for the first time since the levy was frozen in 2006.
The 2014 budget also calls for spending some of that new revenue. There will be a new animal control officer for the police department, and more road-paving work .
A special meeting for the final reading of the budget is scheduled at 6 p.m. Sept. 26. The Oct. 7 regular city council meeting has been canceled and will be rescheduled.