NORTH OGDEN -- The city council approved a one-time 3 percent raise for employees; however, those employees will pay a 5 percent cost increase for their benefits package.
The council also voted to have the staff and department heads do further research on the comprehensive study that was done on city benefits by a resident-based volunteer committee.
The committee gave its findings to the council last month and reported that most city employees were underpaid by at least 20 percent. It suggested the city make an immediate strategic plan to remedy the problem.
City Manager Ron Chandler said things were missing from the study that the staff needs to research further. He asked for the city to give the staff another six months to do the continued research.
"It was helpful but not complete," Chandler said of the study, which didn't take into account how long employees had been in specific positions.
The committee also suggested that the council adopt a plan for employee retention, cost containment and a way to attract employees to the city.
Because the research on the study will continue, Chandler suggested the 3 percent raise to be one-time. The staff may suggest changes to salaries based on the findings of the continued study in six months to a year. The money will be a one-time cash disbursement and will come out of this fiscal year's budget.
Employees haven't received a cost-of-living raise for the past three years.
Chandler also said the one-time allocation will make the budget fully balanced.
City Councilman Brent Taylor said he liked the idea that employees would get a raise, but said he doesn't necessarily want to wait for the staff to do further research before employee salaries are brought in line.
"We received a strong and clear report from a blue-ribbon panel," Taylor said of the benefits committee.
City Councilman Kent Bailey said he felt a six-month time frame for the staff and department heads to do further research is a fair idea.
"I feel much more comfortable with you and staff and department heads looking at this," Bailey said.
City Councilman Wade Bigler agreed that having the staff look over the wages again would be fair.
Last summer when the mayor and council selected the committee, council members said they wanted an outside committee to examine wages and not have the staff and department heads be involved.