ROCKVILLE — Public employees working for the City of Rockville may be in line for merit and cost-of-living raises this upcoming fiscal year.
On Monday, Deputy Director of Finance Stacey Webster presented the details of the operational Fiscal Year 2017 proposed budget to the mayor and City Council during a budget work session. Council members are due to discuss capital improvement projects at a later work session.
The proposed budget included a 1 percent cost-of-living increase for staff and what a budget summary document described as a “performance-based merit or step increase for all regular employees,” something that has not happened in a Rockville budget in several years, according to Simoneau.
That averages out to 3 percent increments for employees receiving benefits.
According to the proposed budget, “The increments include step increases for sworn police personnel and staff represented by AFSCME,” though the system to determine administrative employee raises “has not been finalized.”
The proposed budget also increases the cost for health care benefits while decreasing pension costs by $100,000. It includes an extra $50,000 for the Department of Recreation and Parks to increase hourly minimum wage pay, which is set to boost from $9.55 per hour in Montgomery County to $10.75 on July 1. It then increases to $11.50 a year later.
Simoneau said March 8 that police officers are among those who will be in line to receive raises as a result of the city’s budget team including merit raises based on a “Compensation and Classification” study released last year, which determined bonuses and raises.
City police would also receive $380,700 for in-car and body camera equipment in FY ’17 under the proposed budget, with an extra $35,000 heading to the information technology department to support the new cameras.
On Monday, city Police Chief Terry Treschuk described 15-year-old cameras installed in police cruisers as “outdated.” He also said about body cameras that “every department in Montgomery County has been or is implementing this program.”
A currently vacant police employee position for someone monitoring traffic camera citations is cut in the upcoming budget, with staff projecting less money coming to the city from red-light camera citations.
The biggest overall increase in proposed spending and revenue for a single department came within the office of the city manager, which receives 94 percent of its money from the city’s general fund.
Under the proposed FY ’17 budget, expenditures are due to rise 23 percent to more than $5.3 million while revenue generated from the office increases 23.7 percent to just under $2.2 million.
The change is due in part to the city’s purchasing department being moved out from finance and under direct supervision of the city manager.
Public Works, where Simoneau spent 10.5 years as director until his late February promotion to acting city manager, would receive 5.2 percent less funding for the next fiscal year at $27.2 million, while generating 1.3 percent more revenue for the city at $885,100.
The biggest expense comes from $336,000 to replace vehicles. However, the proposed budget also factors in $76,000 less for fuel costs, one of the biggest recurring cost savers anticipated for FY ’17.
Council member Beryl Feinberg recommended the City Council hold two public hearings for the budget.
While council member Mark Pierzchala agreed with Feinberg, he called for two “distinct” public hearings. Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton said the two public hearings should be advertised separately.
The council members agreed to host them April 11 and May 16.