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City proposes raise for employees

City employees could see a 3% cost of living increase to their paychecks beginning in January, according to a proposed ordinance up before City Council.

The adjustment would be for all full-time and regular part-time city employees — including grant employees, the registrar and their employees, constitutional officers and their employees, along with council appointees.

Council is expected to take up a pair of ordinances related to the cost of living adjustment at its Nov. 4 meeting.

The cost of the increase to the budget is about $1.4 million across all funds, including $1.05 million to the general fund, which includes salary and fringe benefits, and would come from real property tax revenue.

The city is projecting general fund revenue to exceed budget estimates “in an amount sufficient to provide the 3% cost of living adjustment effective Jan. 1, 2021.”

Other city funds are projected to have enough existing funding to cover the 3% cost of living adjustment, and would not require additional appropriations.

The city’s approved budget for fiscal year 2020-2021, which began July 1, did not include a cost of living adjustment, but it did include money for five new full-time positions and some part-time positions.

The 2019-2020 budget included a 2.5% cost of living adjustment for all full-time and regular part-time employees, grant employees, constitutional officers and their employees and council appointees hired prior to April 1, 2019. It also included a net total of 25 new positions to address service demands in multiple departments.

Council in October unanimously approved hazard pay bonuses for city employees ranging from $500 to $2,000 that went into their Oct. 30 paychecks. The more than $2.4 million cost for those bonuses came from a combination of federal CARES Act and city money. City officials said the bonuses were intended to recognize employee contributions in dealing with COVID-19 while working for the city.

Among the other items on the council’s agenda are an update on city transportation projects during its work session, along with an ordinance to temporarily suspend the maximum accumulation limits for annual leave and paid time off, and a resolution to accept an anonymous donation of 100 $50 gift cards to the Suffolk Police Department.

City Council’s work session begins at 4 p.m. Nov. 4, with the regular meeting starting at 6 p.m. in the council chamber at City Hall.