City of Marietta employees may see 2% pay hike
by Jon Gillooly
May 09, 2013 12:24 AM | 2028 views | 5 5 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Marietta City Manager Bill Bruton is eyeing a fiscal year 2014 budget that would give employees a 2 percent raise while at the same time not raise property taxes.

The city’s fiscal year begins July 1.

The general fund contains many of the core functions of the government, from police and fire to streets and sanitation that citizens see on a daily basis. The overall budget for the city is much larger because it includes federal programs, grant funds and the Board of Lights and Water, the city’s utility. Bruton will present the council with the full budget May 29.

Bruton is considering a general fund budget that would balance revenues and expenditures at $48.84 million, an increase of 1.4 percent or $690,443 over the existing 2013 budget.

While the budget is not yet finalized, there is enough money in the draft he’s working on to allow for a potential 2 percent employee pay raise in January.

“A decision on whether to implement this or not would not be made until that time so that we can see how our revenues and expenditures are progressing and what the economic outlook is,” he said.

Mayor Steve Tumlin said he approves of the raises if the economy supports them.

“We’ve got some good folks, and we have to stay competitive and in line with others,” Tumlin said. “The labor market seems to be getting a little bit stronger.”

The budget has a proposed reserve fund of $16.8 million.

In November, the Cobb Board of Commissioners awarded its employees a 3 percent pay raise.

One of the actions the City Council takes to keep property taxes low is it transfers millions from the city utility to the general fund. That amount is expected to be the same for the new budget, at $11.5 million. Bruton said the transfer keeps the property tax rate of 2.788 mills down by about 4 mills. A mill is $1 for every $1,000 of assessed value.

Some critics have accused the city of playing a shell game in which after it transfers $11.5 million from the BLW to the general fund to keep property taxes low, it then hikes electric, water and sewer rates for BLW customers. Bruton said he doesn’t see it that way.

The transfer amount has remained the same for the last four years, he said.

“The increases that the BLW has put forward during that same time have only been pass-through in cost from the BLW’s suppliers,” Bruton said. “Marietta is fortunate to be a city that has both the lowest tax rates of a city our size in metro Atlanta and the lowest electric rates in our area.”

Overall, the news is favorable, Tumlin said.

“We’ve learned to live with less employees,” the mayor said. “It shows that we’re not increasing our capital budget. We still have a very low capital budget, which I don’t know how much longer we can do. But I think by not raising taxes and not raising fees, and still delivering the same amount of services, I think the citizens should look on this as a very positive and beneficial budget.”
Comments
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cobb 27
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June 01, 2013
Although; I don't live in Cobb or the city of Marietta,I do work for Cobb water. At times for us our work schedule is slow, but at other times we do work very hard. I came from the private sector to Cobb in 08 due to lack of building in this region, but let me assure you WE as a department are seriously uderpayed! " no way", I understand that rate increases are troubling in these economic times, but you are not the only one facing hardship. I have been here 5 years and only seen one raise of 3% and that was recent. So with that ill ask... As a grown man would you be willing to work in the heat, rain, freezing cold while getting wet, say busting up concrete with a a sledge hammer, dig through rocks and roots, be in an eight ft deep hole with a live water main bursting for my current rate of 12.33 per hr? Trust me trying to have a comfortable home, family , and necessities at that pay rate is difficult!! My rates in my county have went up also! Point being , we are underpaid,under appreciated, and struggling as well!
No Way
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May 10, 2013
So my power bill is going up AGAIN and you are giving employee's that don't have alot to do any way a 2% raise. I haven't had a raise several years but my power and water bill goes up every year. I don't appreciate the little money that I make and struggle to make ends meet go to City Employees...It's not appreciated Bill Bruton.
Something's rotten
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May 09, 2013
Is it a coincidence that the story about Bob Lewis' suspension was printed at the same time Bruton presented the city budget for approval and is questioned about the city's handling of BLW funds? I think not. It's becoming apparent that there's more than meets the eye to this situation. I'll be contacting my city councilman for a complete report of the city's management of BLW funds. Everyone should do the same. And refuse to accept any vague generalizations the council or Bill Bruton tries to feed us.
Salleigh
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May 09, 2013
2% !! What a slap in the face of city employees.
Look Closer
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May 09, 2013
Ask Bruton about the additional $8 million hidden in your utility rates. If you live outside the city, ask why you pay to fund the city's operations and keep city property taxes low. Shell game-pure and simple.
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