Council adopts budget with mid-year raises

Published 8:27 pm Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Bainbridge City Council adopted a 2010-2011 Fiscal Year budget Tuesday night that includes a possible mid-year raise for all city employees and allocates money for a large 4th of July celebration.

The council voted 5-1, with Councilwoman Roslyn Palmer voting no, to approve the $22,688,617 overall budget. The city’s general fund expenditures are approximately $8.7 million.

The raises for city employees are conditional upon city officials reviewing the city’s revenue intake from October of this year through February 2011. If the revenue predictions the city’s new budget is based on—that sales tax receipts and other sources of money will generate as much as they did in 2009-2010—then the raises would be given. If less revenue comes in than expected, the council reserves the right to rescind the raises, City Manager Chris Hobby explained.

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The budget, as approved, includes a provision offered by City Councilman Luther Conyers that the raises be given to all employees, with no exceptions. Hobby had proposed the council adopt a budget that would include the option for merit raises to become effective in March 2011. To be eligible for the merit raise, an employee would have to receive a rating of satisfactory or better on their most recent evaluation, he said.

Conyers’ budget motion also included allocating $42,626 for Fourth of July entertainment and fireworks.

In addition, in conjunction with the council’s recent vote to raise the city’s millage rate by half a mill, the budget would return an estimated $238,903 to the city’s reserve fund.

Councilwoman Palmer differed on several points. She said she believed that merit raises could be given inconsistently due to arbitrary evaluations. While she said employees were deserving of raises, she questioned whether or not the recent millage increase was designed to pay for the raises, instead of their stated purpose.

Palmer said she believed the city’s 2010 Fourth of July celebration had proven that local entertainment and fireworks could draw a large crowd.