City Pay Raises Approved

In reading the agenda for last night’s meeting, I noticed council members were getting set to “reconsider” Resolution 13-56, the same one they shot down last meeting that would have given the contracted attorney a 2% raise.

I would’ve liked to have read a summary of the contentious June 24 discussion, but alas! I couldn’t find the regular meeting minutes in the agenda packet, nor was approval of those minutes part of last night’s agenda. Wonder what’s going on in the clerk’s office that they’re running late on something so basic?

Anyway, after two weeks of the miracle of “reconsidering,” the lawyer and others will now enjoy 2% increases; and apparently anything less now constitutes abuse of city staff.

First Ward Alderman David Jacobson was the lone dissenter in the 6-1 vote on the 2 percent cost of living adjustment. He felt the city was not out of financial danger.

“We’re outpacing our revenues continually,” Jacobson said. “We keep doing it. … If we’re going to say public safety is our priority, to continue to give raises elsewhere will prevent you from doing that.”

Fifth Ward Alderman Ronald Naylor supported the increase. To him, budgeting for increases and then walking back on them was not the way to treat employees.

Many budgeted expenditures may not come to pass when council actually votes on them, but whatevs. Fact is Jacobson is right in his facts, but Naylor is right in his politics. Besides city employees, their families, and others looking for bigger pieces of the public pie, who else votes in municipal elections? Hardly anyone.

But, back to the point. The Chronicle calculates the city will have to come up with an additional $140,000 this year to cover increases in wages, insurance and pensions. Though the at-a-glance data is welcome, I wish the article had gone further to note the serious amount of hiring planned. The finalized General Fund budget for the new fiscal year shows expenditures for personnel services as a whole going up by $1,053,121, or 4.39%. I think that’s an important figure to share, too.

Moreover, DeKalb will primarily cover the million-dollar increase using sales taxes that used to go into the Central TIF Fund ($500,000), expected growth in the city’s share of the state income tax ($400,000), and the new landlord registration fees ($200,000). That’s it. Revenues in general are flatter than Wile E. Coyote under a dropped anvil and if any of the above streams prove weaker than projected, we’ll be raiding the reserves.

Bonus: The staff total compensation report for 2013 is now available.