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Apr 13

Manager's Message: FY 2017 Budget

Posted on April 13, 2016 at 1:52 PM by Mary Bunting

At this afternoon’s Council work session, I will be sharing highlights of the Fiscal Year 2017 Manager’s Recommended Budget. I am pleased that there are some positive signs in the revenue, although we are not yet fully recovered from the housing market correction. Still, this is a budget that will allow for some reinvestments — including investing in our excellent staff. 
 
As I have said now for several months, providing a compensation increase has been my top budget priority, after maintaining service levels and holding the tax rate. 
 
Here is a quote from my message to City Council: 

"I cannot adequately express how deserving our employees are of these adjustments.They continued to work hard and have been steadfast in their dedication and support of the community, even when the national, state and local economy did not support consistent salary increases. The recession’s impact on them was significant, and as we continue to emerge from those challenging times it is important that we provide competitive pay for the great services they provide to our community."

I am allocating money to increase employee compensation by 3% overall. This will be distributed as a 2% general wage increase for all employees, plus $1 million to help address compression. 

When the City was unable to give annual raises during the recession, many employees’ salaries were stuck at the lower end of the scale, leaving some experienced workers making roughly the same as some employees new to their positions. The details of how the compression adjustments will be distributed are still being finalized; however, in general, employees will receive varying amounts based on their seniority and experience in their jobs. We will communicate those details when they are finalized. Overall, this will “feather out” pay so that more senior and experienced employees won’t be paid the same level as new hires, particularly in those situations where entry-level pay was bumped up. 
To ensure that employees take home as much of this raise as possible, I am proposing that the city once again cover the full projected 7% increase in employee health insurance premiums this year, as well as continue to cover the employee portion of the life insurance premiums.
 
Last, but not least, this budget funds a mid-year citizen satisfaction bonus based upon the percentage of residents who express satisfaction with the way employees perform their jobs. This bonus will be funded out of end-of-the-year departmental savings, as was done this year. Doing so is appropriate, since it is our employees who generate these savings. Tying the bonus to citizen satisfaction provides a critical link between employees and the customers they serve.
 
Taken together, this compensation package exceeds a 3% pay increase for employees overall and will keep us competitive with our peer communities in the region.  While some employees may receive more and some less than a 3% increase depending on how they benefit from the compression adjustments, this reflects the strongest possible commitment that could be made to our employees this fiscal year.  These pay increases will go into effect in July 2016. 
 
There are other items in the proposed budget that will positively impact staff. We are planning to implement a computer replacement program and hire an employee relations manager to enhance supervisory and leadership training. More information will be available shortly, as the full budget proposal is released on Friday and Council begins deliberations on April 27.
 
Again, thank you all for your commitment to your jobs and to our citizens. I am glad that you all “Choose Hampton” and are helping build a bright future.

Mary

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