The town may increase its pay plan by 2.5 percent for the 2015-16 budget year, increasing the maximum salary a person can earn and starting salary when hired.
The increase will go into effect on July 1, at the start of the new budget season if approved by council members. The town is hoping the pay grade increase will keep them competitive when trying to hire candidates for open positions.
During a town council work session, Town Manager Hardin Watkins presented a plan to council members and staff that would increase the pay range of employees.
One-third of the town’s full time positions are reviewed each year as part of a three-year cycle. After reviewing the market salary data, an outside consulting firm, the MAPS group, recommended they increase the pay plan by 2.5 percent.
That doesn’t mean everyone will receive an increase in salary. But they’ll have a chance to make more money as they move up in the ladder.
There are 21 positions currently making the minimum of the current pay range, so those positions would receive increases in salary. Most of those affected are new employees that were started on the market rate.
It would cost the town about $21,000 a year. About eight employees, who have already reached the maximum of their pay range and couldn’t make any more, will now have a chance to increase their salary.
Employees, who had reached the maximum, were receiving a lump sum payment at the end of the year to make up for what would have been an increase in salary and an award.
Kimberly Storey, interim human resource director, said with the economy growing and the market looking up, she could imagine the pay plan increase again next year. She said the economy picked up quicker than expected and the town had fallen behind.
“As the economy continues to improve and folks become more comfortable making climate changes and so forth, certainly compensation is one of those areas that is important in terms of growth and retention,” Storey said. “If we’re falling behind in the market, folks are going to up and leave or stop coming.”
The pay plan had not been adjusted since 2008 before the recession and employees hadn’t received an increase in pay since.
She said some seasonal and part-time employees have left to find higher paying jobs, and the town wants to prevent that from having a domino effect.
“It hasn’t caused any catastrophic issues yet, but I would rather it not get to that point and to try to recognize that there is a risk and to stay with it,” Storey said.