November 27, 2008 in Voices

City’s budget trims $625,000

Airway Heights’ staff, police, fire get raises
Jeslyn Lemke Correspondent
 

Airway Heights’ budget for the coming year has cuts of $625,000.

“That’s a direct reflection of the economy,” said City Manager Albert Tripp. In December, the City Council will vote on the budget, which estimates revenue of $4.38 million.

City sewer fees are set to increase by 12.5 percent to help pay for the city’s upcoming wastewater treatment plant.

The wages of city staff, police and fire officials will increase by 3 percent or more next year, according to the preliminary budget.

City and fire employees will receive a guaranteed pay increase of 3 percent, with an opportunity for up to 2 percent more. Police employees will receive a pay increase of 5 percent next year, also with an opportunity for up to 2 percent more.

Tripp said police salaries are increasing after a survey found that officers in Airway Heights earned less than officers in similar cities. The long-term goal is to match Airway Heights police salaries with those in comparable cities.

“Unfortunately, it is tight across the board (the budget). On the same token, we have a responsibility to pay our employees a fair wage,” Tripp said.

Tripp noted that the bargaining for the agreement happened long before the economy began struggling.

The city has imposed a hiring freeze.

Contact correspondent Jeslyn Lemke by e-mail at jlemke12@yahoo.com.


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