GJ may restore pay employees lost in ‘09

Funds available, Grand Junction City Manager Laurie Kadrich tells City Council

Grand Junction city officials have tentatively proposed to reinstate in 2012 the pay that city employees lost during budget cuts two years ago, although a formal decision won’t be made for two months.

All city employees saw their pay reduced by 3 percent in 2009 as part of an effort to counteract declining revenue. City administrators have placed a reinstatement of that pay into budget projections for next year, but City Council members have yet to decide whether to grant the increases or whether pay will be increased equally for all employees.

The talks that started Monday afternoon are the first of several rounds for council members and city staff as they prepare next year’s budget.

“I’m not in favor of reinstating it to this extent,” Councilman Bill Pitts said of replacing the 3 percent cuts. “I would not like to see written in the headlines of The Daily Sentinel that pay was put back to 2009 levels when the rest of the community is going down the tube.”

Councilman Jim Doody said he first heard of a plan to restore the 3 percent in pay in the city’s internal newsletter.

The city employs about 630 people. Before the recession, it had been projected to employ about 715 people. Giving employees back their 3 percent in pay would equal $860,000, revenue which the city can now afford to spend, City Manager Laurie Kadrich said.

Revenue is increasing slightly, some money will be freed up when the 29 Road viaduct project is completed and, in general, expenses have decreased as the city has laid off a number of workers the past three years, Kadrich said.

Council members will take up the issue of the 3 percent wage reinstatements at a upcoming council workshop.

“I want to know what all the issues are before I say yes or no,” Mayor Tom Kenyon said.

The city expects to prepare a total budget of $137 million. Other items being placed into the draft budget are a $500,000 contribution to Colorado Mesa University and a $100,000 contribution for the 2012 Pro Challenge bike race.


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