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Apr 10

4-10-19: Highlights of Manager's Recommended Budget for FY20

Posted on April 10, 2019 at 4:48 PM by Don Mann

As many of you know, I have just given our City Council the highlights of the Fiscal Year 2020 Manager’s Recommended Budget, and as in years past, I would like to share some of them now with you.
 
It’s hard to believe, but this is my 10th budget proposal since becoming your city manager. Over these 10 years, we have had many difficult budgets due to the recession and slow recovery. During those challenging times, you have remained steadfast and committed to providing exceptional services to the City of Hampton, and for that City Council and I thank you. This year, we are seeing many signs of a more broad economic growth in the area.  Some of that is due to natural recovery, but much is due to City Council’s hard work on strategic investments for this city’s future growth — work that many of you participated in.
 
I am pleased to say that this budget recommends investments in some of our top priorities, maintains service levels to the citizens without any increases in general fund tax rates and includes measures to reward, recruit and retain employees.

Specifically for employees, we are proposing: 
  • A 3% general wage increase for our dedicated and hard-working employees, botheligible full-and eligible part-time and WAE employees; 
  • Covering the full cost of increased health insurance premiums, which is traditionally shared by the employer and employee;
  • Increasing in the Law Enforcement Officer VRS Supplement (known as LEOS) for our police and fire sworn personnel, a retention effort we have long desired to implement but for which we did not have the funds; and,
  • Offering signing bonuses for new fire and police recruits.

In addition, we propose retaining the one-time and non-monetary compensation enhancements we began in years when raises were more limited, including:
  • A mid-year citizen satisfaction bonus based upon the percentage of residents who express satisfaction with the way employees perform their jobs, as reflected in the Citizen Satisfaction Survey, with the maximum amount of up to $250 for eligible full-time employees and $125 for eligible part-time and WAE employees, and
  • Four personal days off each year, one per quarter.

Employees eligible for the general wage increase will be: permanent full-time employees hired on or before 3/31/19 and PPT & WAE employees hired on or before 12/31/18 who have worked at least 760 hours worked during the period of 6/30/18-3/22/19.

Altogether, Hampton’s compensation package will keep us competitive with our peer communities in the region. Our proposal is consistent with or better than what most other regional localities are offering, and rightly so. I personally know — and research validates — that our Hampton team is the most hard-working, innovative and responsive city government team in the region.  Investments in our workforce are reflective of a shared management and Council commitment to consistent, sustainable wage increases as a primary budget priority as we continue to recover from the recession. 

During the most difficult years, we were not able to invest as much as we would have liked in maintaining and improving either our salaries or our community facilities.  Though we still have and will always have limitations, the long-term budgeting and capital spending plan creates a blueprint for investments in employees, safety, maintenance, enhancements and growth.  That should help us continue to improve our ability to serve our residents, businesses and visitors. 
 
We never know what the economic future will bring, as we are a part of regional, state and national influences. Nonetheless, it is my sincere hope that we will continue to build on this economic growth to ensure that Hampton will always be "a vibrant waterfront community celebrating and embracing 400 years of history and innovation to create an even more dynamic future."
 
Although it is called the Manager’s Recommended Budget, I certainly do not do this on my own. We do this as a team — from the formulation of department requests to the I Value outreach and input efforts to the final details that get us to a balanced budget proposal — and I think you all for your part. The full proposed budget will be released and available online on Monday, April 15.

- Mary

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