City of Rifle begins talks over employee compensation, salary boosts
Rifle city officials are workshopping options to boost employee compensation and salaries for 2021.
Two major considerations currently being addressed by the city include either implementing a $250 monthly housing stipend or discretionary bonuses to full- and permanent part-time employees.
That stipend potentially increases the city budget to $294,000.
City Council Member Brian Condie voiced support during an Aug. 18 workshop for providing housing stipends to city employees.
“We’re putting the housing assistance in with wages,” he said. “I want to keep them separate.”
The benefit to taking this route is showing people that the city is doing its part in providing affordable housing assistance, Condie said.
“We are not building houses for employees, we’re not doing the affordable housing, we’re taking care of our employees first. And that’s what we can do for $300,000 a year.”
The idea of increases, which originally stems from a 2019 wage study, is an effort to make Rifle’s wages comparable to market wages and to ensure employees are within market range.
City employees are currently paid on a nine-step structure. Once an employee reaches step five, they are awarded extra pay based on years of service and not necessarily on exceptional performance, according to city documents.
Human Resources Director Danielle Hogan also submitted two market adjustment options for council to consider.
One proposal would be to implement a 3% market adjustment, which would adjust the city’s current salaries and wages budget by an estimated $201,024.
The other proposal would implement a 5% market adjustment, which would adjust the city’s current salaries and wages budget by an estimated $335,040.
Mayor Barbara Clifton expressed favor in increasing wages, saying “pay me what you need to pay me so I can live here,” as if she were a city employee.
“If you want to do it separate, then just give me a bonus at the end of the year,” she said. “To me, it’s wages.”
In addition to potential market adjustments or housing stipends, the city is considering a bump to their retirement plan.
Any employee participating in the city’s voluntary retirement currently receives a 1% contribution match by the city. The consideration would be for the city to increase its contribution match to 3%, which could potentially increase the annual budget to $85,553 from $35,879.
“The retirement contribution, I thought, was a pretty creative solution in terms of looking at alternative benefits that weren’t just salary-based,” council member Theresa Hamilton said. “That might be able to create that benefit package that makes us more appealing as an employer.”
Since all these considerations were discussed during a workshop, no action was taken, and considerations are subject to change. Only when the proposals officially make it on the City Council agenda will the City Council proceed with a vote.
Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or email@example.com.
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