Pay raises and a safety bonus, noise ordinance coming of age and close but no cee-gar on the PERS 6% pickup
Depoe Bay employees got a double Christmas present from their city council Tuesday night. The first gift under the tree was all 12 city employees getting a raise to bring them up to the average pay state-wide for cities similar in size to Depoe Bay. Total hit to the city budget weighs in at $21,162 a year. (The city’s overall annual budget is around $8 million.) Divide $21,162 by 12 and it works out to about a $150 per month pay raise for all city workers. In approving the move the city council said that they don’t want Depoe Bay employees being paid less than the state average.
Then the council celebrated the good news that Depoe Bay has an outstanding worker safety record – so much so that the city received a big discount on workman’s compensation premiums. So the council divided up the savings between the workforce, just a little over four thousand dollars, which, if you divide by 12, is another 27 dollars in extra pay per month. So by the time the gavel cracked the end of the council meeting, Depoe Bay workers were given a $175/month pay hike.
The council, however, balked at paying the cost for picking up employees’ six percent contribution to their PERS retirement accounts. Many cities and counties do pick up it as part of their employee pay packages. As much as the council seemed to want to do it, they balked when they learned of the total cost; many tens of thousands of dollars a year. They cited the continued recession and the political volatility of the PERS system as viewed by Governor Kitzhaber, as reasons to “not do it now.” Governor Kitzhaber said this week that his next biennium budget will be partly built around reducing PERS benefits which he and many other top state officials claim are becoming a drag on school funding and other vital state services.
And finally, the council gave a tentative thumbs up for a refined city noise ordinance. Loud music late at night is its centerpiece aimed especially at the community center when it features live music. The ordinance is based on a widely accepted template provided by the Oregon League of Cities. The council will consider a revamped draft of the ordinance at their next meeting.