Centerville City Council unanimously passes $10.5 million

Telegraph correspondentJune 18, 2013 

CENTERVILLE -- City Council passed a $10.5 million spending plan Tuesday for its 2013-14 fiscal year beginning July 1.

The unanimously approved budget maintains the city’s current millage rate of 11.981 mils, according to City Administrator Patrick Eidson, and reflects a 2.4 percent spending increase over the 2012-13 budget.

Officials said the $95,681 budget increase will be covered by expected across-the-board increases in income to the city.

Eidson said most of the increase is due to what might be as much as a 20 percent increase in health insurance costs for employees. He said precise heath cost increases will not be known until sometime in August and may be less -- or more -- than budgeted for.

He said if health care costs rise even higher, the city would have to amend the budget or adjust benefits.

The coming budget has no cost of living increase for employees.

The fact there was no raise played a small role in non-critical city employees being given the Friday following the Fourth of July, as a paid day off.

Mayor John Harley said he thought it would be a good idea to give employees the day if it was appropriate for council to do so. He said it would be a nice gesture to allow workers a four-day weekend over the holiday.

Councilman Ed Tucker questioned whether or not the day off would interrupt operations. After hearing from department heads that it would not, he agreed it was a good idea.

It was Councilman Cameron Andrews that tied the day off with the lack of a pay raise. He said though he knew having a day off was not the same as getting a raise, he was for council expressing its appreciation to employees by allowing them the longer holiday.

In a later discussion about the lack of a pay raise, Tucker asked department heads to express to those in their departments that the decision not to give a raise was weighed against the coming higher health care costs and the city’s decision to absorb increases and generally not pass them along to workers.

He said figures showed it was most likely the greater good to employees for the city to forgo raises and instead choose to pay health care increases.

Contact Michael W. Pannell at mwpannell@gmail.com.

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