McCOOK, Nebraska -- While the proposed city budget includes a 2.5 percent wage increase, the actual increase is closer to 7 percent when merit and longevity increases are included, according to an analysis of budget figures.
The proposed 2012-13 McCook city budget reflects an annual increase of $220,447 to city employee wages, in the form of merit and longevity increases combined with a 2.5 percent wage increase. The actual requested 2.5 percent city wage increase represents a little more than a third of the overall proposed increase, with merit increases budgeted to account for the largest portion of the overall increase.
Merit increases represent a $80,520 annual increase, with the 2.5 percent wage increase accounting for $80,357 and annual longevity increases amounting to $59,570.
Those three items also do not include any increase in cost to the city for employee health insurance, which City Manager Jeff Hancock said Monday evening amounted to more than $7 per hour for every employee. Hancock estimated the annual cost of health insurance to the city to be at $15,000 for every full time employee.
Annual merit increases were higher than the announced annual wage increase last year as well. Merit increases in the 2011-12 city budget accounted for an annual increase of $76,487 and the then 2 percent annual wage increase totaled $61,086. Longevity increases for that budget were $59,570.
The consumer price index, all urban consumers, for the 12 month period of February through January is again noted in the city budget as the standard used for the city when considering across the board salary adjustments. The CPI is compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and calculates monthly data on changes in the prices paid by consumers for certain goods and services.
For the time-frame indicated the CPI increased by 2.9 percent, which is comparable to the 2.5 percent requested city wage increase. The overall proposed wage increase for 2012-13 reflects a 6.8 percent annual increase in employee wages when including merit and longevity increases.
Similarly the 2011-12 budget announced a 2 percent across the board wage increase with a 1.6 percent CPI increase. The overall 2011-12 wage increase was 6.2 percent when including merit and longevity increases.