Mayor Alt eyes pay raise for Elkton employees
bshea@ cecilwhig. com
— As the days wind down until Mayor Rob Alt releases his bud-
get proposal to the public, he recently announced that he is prepared to propose a 3 percent pay raise for all non- law enforcement town employ- ees while also holding the property tax rate.
The mayor’s proposed fiscal year 2017 budget will be released to the public on Friday, just five days before the town’s scheduled public hearing on the budget. The Town Board of Commissioners have the ability to cut Alt’s proposal, but not add to it prior to its scheduled con- sideration on June 1.
At their May 11 work session, the board went line- item- by- line- item discussing all departmental requests ahead of the mayor’s final proposal.
Alt noted if all of the departmental requests were approved, the 2017 fiscal year budget would be $22,000 larger than last year’s $13.3 million budget. The capital requests from the departments amounts to $435,328, he added.
“Once again, this is just bringing everything to the table. This isn’t what I’m projecting, but this is everything collectively together,” Alt said.
As he proposes to retain the property tax at 0.5856 cents per $ 100 of assessed value, rather than the constant yield rate of 0.5873 cents per $ 100 assessed value, the town will forfeit some revenue. It would be the third consecutive year without a tax increase if approved. But Alt said the town is projected to collect almost $ 7.5 million in tax revenue this year, an increase of about $ 400,000 over what was budgeted.
Among his budget proposals will be a 3 percent pay raise for all non- law enforcement town em- ployees — the first such cost- of- living adjustment for town employees since 2012. Officers with the Elkton Police Department will not receive pay increases in the final year of a four- year contract as bargained by the Elkton Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 124.
Alt will budget for 45 sworn police officers in the upcoming budget, the same as last year, despite carrying eight open positions in the past two years. Police officials have said that a lack of qualified candidates has led to a difficulty in hiring for the positions. While the police department has requested $ 344,328 in capital expenditures for six new police vehicles and equipment, such as a computer voice stress analysis device, Alt may be cutting back in his proposal.
He told the board he is in favor of the live scan fingerprint station and the computer voice stress analysis device equipment, which amount to about $ 35,000, but would like to hold off on purchasing the new vehicles next fiscal year. This fiscal year, nine police vehicles were purchased to phase out older noted.
Some of the commissioners had concerns about not replacing the vehicles though.
Commissioner Mary Jo Jablonski said that if the board were to skip this year’s vehicle request, she did not want to see it put aside. Commissioners Earl Piner and Charles Givens, who have been endorsed by the Elkton FOP lodge in their re- election race, agreed and added that the department should have the equipment they need to do their jobs.
“We need to try to adhere to the request,” Givens said about the need for new vehicles.
Alt said he supports the public works department’s request for $ 89,000 in capital expenditures including a utility task vehicle, also known as a Gator, three zero- turn lawnmowers and shop equipment such as an 8- ton lift, tire balancers, tire changer and an auto refrigerant recovery system. The department is also requesting four additional employees for the town’s water ser vices, two for its sewer services and one for its sidewalk repair crew.