An unofficial tally on Monday indicated Windsor’s 2014 budget could pass on a split vote, effectively granting town staff a 4 percent pay raise on top of a nearly 15 percent town-covered hike in medical coverage costs moving into next year.
The board couldn’t find unanimous support for the pay raise portion of the budget during its Oct. 12 hearing. Town Manager Kelly Arnold in the draft budget requested a 3.5 percent “merit pool” raise, which would be up to the discretion of department heads who evaluate employees annually. That 3.5 percent raise would have accounted for about $220,000 in added expenditures and coincides with a hike in employee health benefits, which the town will also absorb to the tune of $68,000.
Some members of the board, including Robert Bishop-Cotner and Ivan Adams, argued that raise should be higher to adequately reward and retain town workers. Others struggled with that idea and were even hesitant about the 3.5 percent bump, citing what they said was a slow-down in private sector pay increases,
Seeking clarity, board member Don Thompson, at the end of last week’s work session, asked whether there would be any continued discussion on the pay issue that he said appeared unresolved. While Mayor John Vazquez and Mayor Pro-Tem Kristie Melendez joined him in welcoming a continued discussion, Myles Baker, Ivan Adams and Robert Bishop-Cotner said they were satisfied with the budget discussion’s outcome. Jeremy Rose was not at Monday’s meeting but previously supported the 4 percent increase.
By way of comparison, Greeley during its own budget vote approved a 3.5 percent pay raise increase with one dissenting member, who argued the extra funds should be used to a backlog of road and infrastructure improvements.
Any additional discussion on Windsor’s pay bump issue, Vazquez said Monday, would likely be an “effort in futility,” since the measure appears to have the required four-vote majority to pass as presented. Unless something changes, the 2014 budget will be adopted at the Nov. 25 town board meeting.