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Lynchburg City Council proposes measure to increase wages for part-time and hourly workers | Govt. and politics

Lynchburg City Council took the first step in granting raises to part-time and hourly city employees this week by introducing a resolution that will amend the fiscal year 2023 budget with funds left over from last year’s budget. .

In fiscal year 2022, according to Chief Financial Officer Donna Witt, the city allocated funds for 5% general wage increases for city employees. After implementing this, Witt said the city was left with $620,492 due to unfilled vacancies.

With the remaining money, the city hopes to bring its part-time employees to at least a living wage of $14.03 an hour, which the city has already covered for full-time employees in the city’s budget. financial year 2023.

Witt said the funds will go to part-time summer workers, such as lifeguards, as well as positions in the parks and recreation department, among several other part-time jobs in the city.

After addressing the part-time increases, the city will continue to deal with the squeeze on remaining funds, which Vice Mayor Beau Wright said all councilors called a significant issue.

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Wage compression occurs when there is little or no wage difference between employees, regardless of experience or time spent in a position.

“I was talking to a worker recently,” Ward Councilor II Sterling Wilder said at the meeting, “and she mentioned that she’s been working for several years and people are coming in and making the same amount. It’s embarrassing. , it is not fair.”

Wilder said the board assigned Benda to deal with the compression of several departments such as the police department and the fire department, but there are other areas where the compression is a problem.

Ward III Councilman Jeff Helgeson, who lobbied during the budget process to give more money back to citizens through a tax rate cut, went on to push back on how those leftover funds from last year would be spent.

“When I first read this, the first word that popped out of my head was: insulting. It’s insulting to the board and it’s insulting to the ratepayers,” Helgeson said.

“Everyone has been paid,” Helgeson said of the fiscal year 2023 budget, “except our taxpayers.”

In the fiscal year 2023 budget, the city council approved adding property tax credits of 2 cents per $100 of assessed value to every property owner’s bill in Lynchburg.

The Council also approved personal property tax relief for citizens, meaning citizens would only have to pay tax on 75% of the assessed value of their car’s tax bill.

Wright argued that as a “municipal corporation, while it is true that we have an obligation to our shareholders”, who he says are the citizens, “…we also have a profound responsibility to provide d excellent service. And that’s thanks to a high – quality workforce.”

“That’s how a business works,” Wright said. “You have to pay people to keep them.”

Witt said the funds are split, with about $200,000 for part-time and hourly wage increases, and the remaining roughly $420,000 going to curtailment.

Benda said the squeeze funds will be used to reach people who have between two and 30 years of service with the city.

The Board is due to vote twice on the amendment, approving it with the first vote of 5-2 this week. Helgeson and Ward IV Councilor Chris Faraldi voted in opposition.

The board will vote on the amendment again at its regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. on June 28.

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