Hamburg City Council discussed changing how it approaches employee pay raises as part of the proposed budget for fiscal year 2022.

The city is legally required to present the proposed budget for viewing before Dec. 1, and that proposal led the discussion at the Nov. 22 meeting. 

The main item of discussion was the new proposed salary schedule. 

Mayor David Streeter said he wanted to set up a pay scale that he characterized as similar to those used by the local school systems. The schedule is a step scale, and he said he intends for its implementation to ensure that each person receives a fair raise once they have worked for the city for a designated amount of time. 

 The idea behind the step schedule is that there is base pay for each position, and each year a person is in the city’s employ they receive an incremental raise. 

One of the main arguments in favor of such a schedule is that it prevents raises from being given arbitrarily, and Streeter told the council no one employed by the city would be losing any money under the arrangement.

The council members noted that a lot of the salaries were subjective, and with the new budget it is set so that if someone wants a raise, they just need to put in the time or obtain certifications that could expand their current knowledge about city-related matters. If city workers obtain training and certification through approved programs, that means the city has to spend less time training that individual. Obtaining these certifications for purposes of receiving a raise is a good motivation to learn things that help the city progress. 

Ensuring a yearly raise is another incentive to retain those already employed by the city. Police officers are especially hard to retain, Streeter said. 

“We want to keep what we’ve got,” he said in reference to the employees who currently work for the city.

As for the Hamburg Police Department budget, Streeter said it is going to require a little more funding this year than usual. Two officers are set to attend upcoming training sessions, at which time part-time workers will be employed in their absence. 

In other news, the wood that the city has for sale is still available. 

The city came into possession of the wood after storing it in a city-owned building became cost-prohibitive for the wood’s former owner, who gave it to the city in lieu of cash payment.

Streeter said the city has sold approximately $8,000 worth, which amounted to about one tenth the total wood up for grabs. 

He said the city has had offers for bulk purchase at a lower price, but will not entertain those offers unless the sales of the wood slows down significantly. He said the sales were “going well.”

Councilwoman Derenda Stalney asked about the use of the funds received from the sales of the wood. Streeter said that he thought the funds needed to go back into the building where it was stored, which the city is rehabilitating. 

Council also discussed the agreement with the county for dispatcher services for the coming year. 

The agreement being presented was the same as last year and was accepted by unanimous vote.

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