NEW HAVEN – All full-time New Haven city government employees will receive a $700 pay increase next year.
The raises came after the City Council approved a first draft of the city’s 2013 budget Tuesday.
The budget will remain relatively flat at $12.3 million, compared with $12.2 million this year.
Employees received a 4 percent raise in 2008, no raises for two years and a 2 percent raise this year.
Also proposed next year are raises for all elected officials of about 1.7 percent.
Craig Dellinger, R-3rd, said he did not understand why raises for elected officials were necessary.
“It’s such a small amount and no one serves on the council for the salary,” Dellinger said.
Clerk-treasurer Brenda Adams told Dellinger it was better to increase the pay in small increments rather than wait for years. It also helped keep the stipends comparable with other cities, she said.
“It’s not that much, but by not taking it, you’re hurting the next person (on the council),” Adams said.
If given final approval, the increase would equate to $5,944 annually for council members.
The city ended up with about $2.7 million left over from this year’s budget that will continue to help with the 2013 budget, said Greg Guerrettaz, the city’s financial consultant.
Tax rates are expected to remain flat as well, Guerrettaz said, although final figures are not known because some figures – such as assessed valuation – are unavailable.
The majority of capital projects planned for next year – about $823,000 worth – will go toward road improvements on Deveron, Landin, Moeller and Green roads.
The city, like others, is experiencing decreasing revenue because of hard times and tax caps, he said.
New Haven is in much better shape that most cities its size because every year officials project the city’s revenue and costs for the next five years in an analysis that is updated annually.
Mayor Terry McDonald acknowledged the city has tightened its belt and credited department heads with helping make that happen.
All departments have done an excellent job cutting expenses and “paring down,” McDonald said.
The city’s rainy day fund has a balance of $669,000, and although Guerrettaz said he would like to see the balance about $1 million, that would be difficult to do without increased income taxes.
“And that’s not going to happen in the next few years,” he said.