Tuesday evening the McCook City Council received the city staff's 2010-11 preliminary budget which includes a "4.5 percent across the board cost of living adjustment for all employees."
City Manager Kurt Fritsch said in the introductory letter for the budget "We feel that it is important to make these increases so that we may stay in line with our compensation practices." The letter also stated that "state funding has been reduced by about 5 percent in revenue sharing to cities in Nebraska" and in another section that "unless there is improvement in revenues and the state funds cities at their full share we will seriously have to consider some increase in the property tax rate in 2011-12."
In addition to the cost of living increase, merit and longevity increases also are proposed: $66,892 and $45,687 respectively. The proposed increases are spread over 87.8 full time equivalent positions.
The city is currently spending $11,500 annually per employee in health and insurance costs and has proposed an increase in employee contributions in the budget, in order to hold costs and claims down for the city.
The general fund portion of the budget is $7,079,258, $148,866 more than last year or a 2.14 percent increase, with no proposed property tax increase for 2010-11.
With sales tax revenues projected to continue to stay flat, City Council has agreed to approach voters with a project this fall that would ask for a seven year bond against the sales tax, in the amount of $3.5 to $3.75 million, for the construction of a new Municipal Complex to house Fire, Police and City offices.
Projects proposed for use of the sales tax in 2010-11 include replacement of an ambulance, roof repair at the Senior Center, upgrades at the library and $250,000 for street resurfacing and repairs.
City staff is awaiting the rate analysis from Public Financial Management to determine whether water/sewer increases will be necessary, the budget noted that no increase had been passed on in either of these areas for the last three years.
City council will continue discussion and review of the budget proposal Monday, 7:30 p.m., during the second of three open meeting budget workshops at Memorial Auditorium.
A selection of 2009-10 McCook City Personnel positions 12 month pay rate prior to proposed cost of living, longevity, and merit increases:
City Manager $92,623
City Clerk $60,888
Fire Chief $59,229
Firefighter/Paramedic (3) $43,645
Chief of Police $60,885
Police Detective (2) $43,238
Patrol Officer (8) $35,693