Bonuses coming city employees’ way |

Bonuses coming city employees’ way

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – A combination of higher-than-expected city of Glenwood Springs revenues and significant budget savings on the expense side this year will result in a year-end bonus for city workers.

City council agreed Thursday to award a $1,000 across-the-board “wage reimbursement” to 154 full-time city employees, and $500 each to about a dozen regular part-time workers. The total cost will be about $160,000.

The extra pay is being formally referred to as a reimbursement rather than a bonus, due to the fact that city employees were asked to take three furlough days this year as part of the city’s budget reduction plan.

City employees also have not seen a merit or cost-of-living wage increase since 2009, and have been asked to pay a greater share of their health care premiums.

“When things looked bad, we went to the employees and asked them to sacrifice,” city human resources director John Angell told council at a morning work session. “Since financial results exceeded expectations, it is reasonable to reimburse them.”

Through September, city revenues were running more than $600,000 ahead of expenses, for a projected net savings of about $1.2 million by the end of the year, according to the latest city financial figures presented to council at a morning work session.

“People have done what we asked them to do as far as controlling expenses,” Glenwood Springs City Manager Jeff Hecksel said in support of Angell’s recommendation. “We have saved a boatload of money, which is why we’re asking you to do this.”

Council members also agreed.

“Everyone has worked really hard to put us in this position, and we’ve basically been balancing the budget on their backs,” Mayor Matt Steckler said.

Also to be considered at City Council’s regular Dec. 15 meeting will be a proposal to reinstitute a merit pay program of between 2 and 3 percent as part of the 2012 budget. At 3 percent, the cost would be about $168,000 per year after any increases are awarded, Angell indicated in a staff report.

In addition, the city may implement a revised wage scale that was recommended after a 2008 salary survey, which was done by an outside consultant.

Due to the economic downturn that hit locally later that same year, the recommendations were never implemented.

If the new wage scale were to be implemented now, it would come at an additional cost of about $58,000 per year, Angell said in his report.

Steckler wondered if the findings of the salary survey were still accurate, given that it was done more than three years ago.

“Economically, that was a lifetime ago,” he said during the work session discussion.

Most council members were open to a merit-based wage increase of no more than 3 percent, although the actual number will be discussed at the Dec. 15, as will the wage scale recommendations.

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