2021 Budget Includes Modest COLA Adjustment For Salaries; CARES Act Funds Used For A/V, Tech Upgrades
Last week, Valley News reported the Board of Aldermen voted to approve the 2021 fiscal year budget, compensation plan, and comprehensive fee schedule for the City during its November 23rd meeting. In addition, the Board voted to amend the 2020 budget to account for changes due to CARES Act funding and refinancing of bonds, as well as account for expenditures related to additional street overlay projects.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll look at the 2021 budget in more detail. This week, we will focus on City staffing, CARES Act funding, and the 2021 fee schedule.
The City approved a modest cost-of-living increase for salaries and increase in healthcare expenses benchmarked against costs for the first six months of the plan year.
“There were no significant changes in the approved 2021 compensation plan. We have budgeted the funds for a 2% COLA (cost-of -living adjustment) increase in salaries. We have budgeted for a 12% increase in healthcare costs for the second half of 2021. Our benefit plan year runs July to June so we know what our costs will be for the first half of the year,” City Administrator Ken Murphy said.
The comprehensive fee schedule showed a few changes for 2021, including the addition of a $300 Planning & Zoning fee for site plan review (in transition overlay). In addition, sewer connection fees are now based on meter size.
“The increases were based on comparisons from other cities and a review of true infrastructure costs,” Murphy said.
There was a slight increase to some parks and recreation fees, including pool and athletic field rental fees. Community Center fees and fees for the fitness center and aquatic center did not increase.
The City dedicated CARES Act funding received in 2020 toward A/V upgrades, a new website and other technology items that will allow for remote communication. In addition, funding was used for first responder personnel costs, PPE and related COVID-19 supplies, facility safety upgrades, and utility bill assistance.