Council to consider pay raises

PARKERSBURG – A plan that would change the base pay scale for city employees will be sent to Parkersburg City Council for its consideration.

The city’s personnel committee voted Wednesday evening to send the plan for the citywide raise, reclassifications and finance department reorganization to full council.

City Finance Director Ashley Flowers presented the plan, which she said was the beginning of the process of correcting a pay system that has been bogged down by longevity and addressing pay as a whole.

Her plan calls for a 2.5 percent pay increase for employees, excluding department heads; reclassifications for appropriate positions and raises in hourly rate/salary for pay grades.

In regard to department heads, a base pay scale would be created based on the level of responsibility these positions have with longevity being excluded from the salaries of department heads.

Flowers obtained figures from other West Virginia cities that were similar in size on their base pay for positions to do a comparison with Parkersburg.

“Although we will still be below the average, adjusting base pay is the way to go,” she said. “We took the base and added the 2.5 percent increase onto that.”

The expected cost to the city to cover the raises is $400,144, Flowers said.

Mayor Bob Newell said the city has looked at wages of positions that had the most value in being able to effectively run the city. Raising the base pay for many positions makes those positions look more attractive to people on the outside looking at whether to apply for these positions.

Flowers showed that a medium equipment operator under the previous classification (H-5) earned $11.90 an hour. Under a new classification (H-6) that person would earn $12.40 an hour. With an increase of 2.5 percent, that person would earn $12.71 an hour which would equal to a 81 cents raise in their hourly wage.

Newell said the mayor’s salary remained at its current position and will not have an increase.

To pay for this, Flowers said the city is expecting more of a carryover for the upcoming fiscal year than the $1.1 million originally budgeted for due to decreased expenditures in many departments and an overall increase in revenues such as property taxes; prior year property taxes; supplemental taxes; wine and liquor tax; fees and violations; business licenses; permits; and utility fees.

This was due to improving the efficiency of collection processes as well as identifying businesses that were not paying their business and occupancy taxes or the city user fee as well as utilizing systems to help businesses properly file and pay their taxes, Flowers said.

The city has looked at efficient ways of improving purchasing processes and finding the most cost efficient items, Flowers said. She outlined other ways the city Finance Department is finding money and improving processes to save money and make improvements so the city’s financial reporting is more accurate.

”It is not only an increase now, but an increase in future revenues,” Flowers said.