OGDEN — Ogden City is considering a proposal that would not only give city employees an immediate salary bump but would also apply the raise retroactively back to July 2020.
When the city adopted its Fiscal Year 2021 budget last summer, raises for municipal employees were conspicuously absent. What has for years been a customary pay bump was forgone due to anticipated revenue losses associated with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. During last year’s budget proceedings and several times during the months that followed, Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell said cutting raises was obviously a decision not made lightly, but a simple fact of life for what he called “the most conservative budget” of his nine-year tenure as mayor.
But as the city dealt with their “new normal” following the outbreak of COVID-19, something unexpected began to materialize and remain consistent: Tax revenues taken in by the city have not only surpassed expectations since the 2021 budget was adopted, they’ve gone above numbers from the previous year, sans pandemic.
And so a proposal that will be voted on next month by the Ogden City Council not only reinstitutes the customary raises, but it would also make city employees whole for the pay they went without. Ogden’s Human Resources Director Leslie Judkins said the measure includes a 4% wage increase for all full-time city employees, excluding Caldwell and Chief Administrative Officer Mark Johnson, and retroactive pay, assuming the 4% raise, dating back to July 1, 2020.
“We’ll do a one-time stipend for the employees based on what their pay would have been (with the 4% increase),” Judkins said.
The council is scheduled to vote on the item following a public hearing that has been set for April 6. If the measure is adopted, employees will see the 4% adjustment and one-time stipend on their April paychecks.
Ogden Comptroller Lisa Stout said the plan, which also includes some travel appropriations, would require a nearly $2 million amendment to the city’s FY 2021 budget.
The city is also reviewing a compensation study that was recently completed by consultant Evergreen Solutions. Among other things, the study recommends the city increase pay ranges for employees. The study says Ogden salaries are not competitive with surrounding cities and counties, which hurts recruitment and retention efforts. Council members have expressed support with Evergreen’s recommendations and the planned 4% pay raise.
“We still seem to be getting behind the power curve on this,” Council member Rich Hyer said. “I want to make sure we keep up ... and don’t lose (employees) to other municipalities.”