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Rescinding motion on $15/hr hires…
Pearsall city councilors voted unanimously to rescind a prior controversial decision that would raise the base salary of city employees and unbalance the 2021 municipal budget.
Councilor Roland Segovia had proposed in an August meeting to increase starting pay for all new city hires to $15 an hour and for any existing employees earning less to be moved up the pay scale.
Segovia had the support of Councilors Abel Nieto, Sonia Hernandez and Richard Gandara; Councilors Davina Rodriguez, Brenda Trevino and Julian Hernandez voted against the pay increase.
The council decision left the 2020-21 fiscal budget $230,000 in the red.
Councilwoman Rodriguez urged those councilors in favor of the motion to reconsider their decision.
According to policies and procedures for the city, an item can be placed back on the agenda only if those voting in favor of the item ask that discussions on the topic resume. Councilors revisited the decision at a September 8 meeting.
“The reason this item is on the agenda is because I was not at the last council meeting and I was informed there was a request to reconsider,” Segovia said. “I make a motion to reconsider the prior approval of the fifteen-dollar-an-hour salary increase.”
In the wake of the council’s decision to rescind the base pay, City Manager Federico Reyes proposed a one-time pay of $1,000 for all non-salary employees.
“We have a little cost savings for the positions we froze,” Reyes said. “We are considering possibly doing a one-time pay for the non-exempt, non-salary staff.”
Reyes said there are currently 54 city employees eligible for the incentive and 13 who are ineligible. He has also suggested eliminating one frozen salary from the city’s parks department.
The city manager urged councilors to consider an independent salary study of city positions.
“I do propose to do a salary study,” Reyes said. “There needs to be something in place, a method in place, in providing salaries for employees. Right now we are giving raises to certain departments and not others, and it is hard to explain.”
In other budget news, the tax rate will decrease by nearly three cents; dropping from .89 per $100 assessed value to .86.
“The maintenance and operations has gone down year by year since 2018,” the city manager said. “What has gone up is the debt service. We are using the tax rate to pay debt; 40 cents of the tax rate is for debt.”