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City Council on Tuesday tabled action on the proposed city budget and capital improvements plan for the next fiscal year due to continued concerns over pay compression for some city employees.
About 50 police officers and firefighters filled Council Chambers to seek remedy for compensation policies they say have failed to address inequities faced by long-term, public safety employees.
Police Captain Tommy Merricks and Fire Captain Darryl Turpin addressed council members on behalf of public safety employees.
Last year, the city implemented a pay for performance system for employee salary and wage increases. As part of the system, each employee undergoes a performance evaluation. Salary and wage increases are based on the evaluation.
In addition to pay-for-performance increases, some employees last year were eligible for one-time adjustments for pay compression. Pay compression was the result of defunding the merit pay system two decades ago.
Rather than a second round of separate pay compression increases, this year’s proposed budget includes larger than normal pay-for-performance increases to address residual disparities.
City Manager Joe King has acknowledged that inequities remain in the current compensation system, but he says broader fixes are neither affordable nor sustainable.
Mayor Sherman Saunders and council members acknowledged the group’s concerns and directed King and staff to meet with the group of employees to develop a solution.
Council must approved a budget for the next fiscal year by June 30. The budget would serve as a blueprint for city operations from July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2016.
As currently proposed, municipal services and programs would remain at current levels, with no increases in real estate, meals and lodging taxes. Wastewater rates would increase by 3.5 percent, with the typical residential customer bill increasing by $1.85 a month.
Danville Public Schools would receive $17.4 million for operations, $1.3 million for debt service and $2.6 million for capital projects. The school system’s capital improvement list includes roof replacements at two schools and roof repairs and other work at four additional schools.
The budget also includes $150,000 to study the feasibility of renovating the George Washington High stadium and fields or build a new complex.