The Trenton Board of Public Works today voted to give Trenton Municipal Utilities employees a 1-1/2% pay increase.
The increase, which is across the board, is to be included in a proposed TMU budget for the fiscal year beginning May 1st. That budget is to be presented to the Trenton City Council Monday night. The City Council has the final say on whether to approve the TMU budget.
All 4 members of the Board of Public Works voted in favor of the 1 1/2% pay increase. 2 of those members, Mark Cole and Larry Crawford, participated in the meeting by telephone. The other 2 members, Robert Day and John Kennebeck, were at City Hall.
The Trenton Board of Public Works, last month, passed and sent to the City Council, a budget which included a 3% increase in funds to each department for salary increases---with the amount of the increase to be determined by department heads. That was before the City Council's Finance Committee announced it's not recommending pay increases for City workers in the upcoming year. Also since the Board of Public Works approved a budget last month, the Finance Committee approved changes in insurance coverage for City employees, including those who work for TMU.
The Finance Committee action was taken on Monday night of this week. It's included in a City budget to be considered Monday night by the full City Council.
With that in mind, the Special Board of Public Works meeting was called to review revised budget figures.
Those figures still are tentative because final health insurance rates are not expected to be known until next month. An increase of up to nearly 10% was anticipated---although that figure could go higher if a tax associated with Obamacare is passed on to insurance purchasers. The tax has been described as 3 to 3 1/2%.
Eventually, the Board of Public Works discussion turned to pay increases and the cost of living. The Board voted to give employees 1 1/2% pay increases. That's instead of the 3% increase allocated for pay increases in the original proposed TMU budget.
The revised TMU budget, to be presented to the City Council Monday night, has an improved cash flow of about $278,000, compared to the original proposed budget.
Among other discussion, City Councilman Travis Elbert, who's a member of the Council's Finance Committee, indicated there have been suggestions to make pay raises a flat amount instead of a percentage increase to better help those on the lower end of the pay scale.
Mayor Nick McHargue, as he's done in past meetings, voiced concern about the range of insurance premiums being paid to cover City employees---and in some cases their families.
Board of Public Works member, John Kennebeck, said efforts are being made to close the disparity---but not all at once. Mayor McHargue said the coverage should be more equitable. Kennebeck said that's what's being attempted.