KELLER — No tax increase, no water/waste-water increase and a pay raise for employees are proposals laid out during a Fiscal Year 2013-2014 budget workshop.The news sounds promising, but with personnel costs outpacing the increase in revenues, city officials are faced with a challenge in planning the next budget.During the June 28 meeting, officials proposed to spend nearly $2 million on personnel including a 3 percent merit raise, market adjustments, personnel upgrades and additional employees.The 3 percent merit pay raise, given to employees that achieve an acceptable rating on their performance evaluation, is 1 percent higher than employees received last year but the 2013-2014 proposal did not include the $1,000 lump sum stipend like the one awarded last year.City Manager Steve Polasek said the pay raises are something city officials expected. Healthcare costs, however, are higher than anticipated.“This is a challenging budget this year. It’s daunting,” Polasek said. “Primarily because of the health care costs.”Carolyn Nivens, director of human resources, said city officials were waiting on a bid with an exact number of the increase but predicted it to be about 25 percent, an equivalent of $793,000.Proposed new positions include a community development planner, economic development director and parks and recreation construction manager.New positions proposed in the police department include an animal adoption coordinator, detention officer and three part-time kennel technicians, with regional cities paying a portion of the costs.In August, staff will hold another budget workshop for council. The budget will be adopted in September.
Susan McFarland, 817-390-7547 Twitter: @susanmcfarland1