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New Haven weighs budget

City Council debates extra check vs. raise

No votes were taken or decisions made, but New Haven City Council members were presented with some basic financial information to begin thinking about the budgeting process for 2015.

Since the city’s 92 employees are paid on a biweekly basis and next year will be 27 pay periods instead of the normal 26, the council could consider forgoing an annual raise and instead give the employees the extra paycheck, said Greg Guerrettaz, the city’s financial consultant.

The extra checks for 92 employees would cost the city about $152,000 plus benefits, approximately the equivalent of a 3.8 percent raise, Guerrettaz said.

“Then in 2016, when there will again be 26 pay periods, the city could offer a 3.5 percent raise,” he said.

Guerrettaz has been advising the city for about eight years, putting together a yearly analysis, which Mayor Terry McDonald called “a careful and good plan to avoid the risk of laying off people in the future while continuing to be prudent and work as a team.”

The plan would allow the city to hire an additional police officer in 2015 and a paramedic in 2016, despite the fact that the city continues to lose revenue because of property tax cuts, McDonald said.

McDonald also asked council members to consider including the employment of a part-time human resources employee or consultant during the budget process, which begins in a few weeks.

“With the constant changes in law, especially the Family Medical Leave Act and Americans with Disabilities Act, we dare not miss anything,” McDonald said.

“Nobody here is qualified to deal with these complicated questions,” he said.

Based on employee suggestions, McDonald would like to allow employees to use family sick days out of their accrued sick days and asked the council to consider pooling all vacations and holidays and earned days off into paid-time-off days, allowing employees to better use and track time off.

The entire sustainability report can be found and downloaded from the home page of the city’s website at www.newhavenin.org.

vsade@jg.net

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