By NICK BUDD
The city of Hays and the Service Employees International Union Local 513 recently agreed to an addendum that will give members a one-time 2 percent bonus for 2015, and city commissioners voted 4-0 in favor of accepting the agreement at Thursday’s meeting.
The bonus will be based on hours and overtime. It will begin with the first payroll in 2015 and will end at the final payroll period of the year.
“We talked about paying it all in a lump sum, but if we did that, there would be greater taxes taken out of the bonus,” Assistant City Manager Paul Briseno said.
The bonus will affect 51 employees and will cost the city approximately $41,000. According to Briseno, the reason behind the bonus as opposed to a wage increase is a decrease of sales tax revenues that are projected by the city. The revenues are currently 1.18 percent below expectations, and staff now projects ending the year 2 percent below expectations. The last time this happened was in 2011, Briseno said, noting officials are unable to pinpoint an exact reason for the negative trend.
“Right now, with our negative sales tax projections, theoretically, we probably shouldn’t be giving any type of merit (increase) for next year,” Briseno said. “But because we have done a good job of budgeting, we do have money set aside so that we can give this one-time bonus.”
Commissioner Kent Steward brought up concerns about wage increases in 2016 during discussions.
“If, in fact, we give no raises next year, which probably won’t happen, but it could, then all the employees are going to see this as a reduction in their pay,” he said.
Briseno said those concerns were addressed during negotiations.
The city will discuss another agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police next week but remain at impasse with the International Association of Fire Fighters.
Mayor Henry Schwaller was absent.