Bumps in pay, retirement implemented for Rifle city employees
Rifle City Council voted Sept. 5 to implement a 5% pay increase for all permanent part-time and full-time city employees. The council also voted to increase the city’s matching funds for anyone who opts into its retirement plan from 1% to 3%.
“3% is kind of the industry norm,” Council member Clint Hostettler said. “1% is not normal; 3% is normal. We’re just bringing this thing up to where it should be.”
Rifle Human Resources Manager Danielle Hogan said part of the reason for the retirement bump is to target prospective employees looking to stay long-term. Having an improved retirement plan is “definitely a calling card,” she said.
“I oftentimes have potential candidates call me, and this is something that they’re always very interested in,” she said.
The city is currently interviewing and trying to fill between 5-6 positions and reach a total of 98 full-time positions.
The retroactive bumps to pay and retirement will likely go into effect before year end, Hogan said. Once they do, it will expand city expenditures significantly.
Before the vote, the city contributed $44,447 to the retirement accounts of 57 employees currently participating.. The vote potentially increases that amount to $174,220, depending on how many employees choose to remain on the plan.
“If all of our employees take advantage of this, it could cost the city $174,220 a year,” Council member Brian Condie said. “So my question is, do we have it in the budget, and we’ll be able to retain our balance?”
City Finance Director Michelle Duran said the city should be for 2021.
“We’ll make sure it’s in for 2022,” she said. “Because we always look at our retirement costs anyway, so I would say yes.”
The 5% bump in pay, meanwhile, has increased the city budget by $335,040. Prior to the vote, the city budget for total wages and benefits was about $8.9 million, with wages alone accounting for about $6.26 million.
Hogan said the 5% increase is a one-time bump.
“This was the amount that council has chosen for us to move forward with at this time,” she said. “In the future, any cost of living or market adjustments would be evaluated based on what the price index is, what our revenues are and what we can afford. Then that decision would be made with a recommendation from staff to council at that point.”
The proposed increases stem from a 2019 wage study. The study aimed to evaluate Rifle’s wages against the market and ensure comparable ranges.
Hogan said the new 5% bump allows the city to increase its starting wages for positions.
“At this point, it’s very challenging. We’re not getting a lot of applications,” she said. “We felt that applying this to our wage structure would help alleviate some of that.”
Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or email@example.com
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