Columbia city manager proposes wage increases for city employees
Columbia City Manager De’Carlon Seewood delivered the annual budget message yesterday. He will officially introduce the budget to Columbia City Council on July 17.
Seewood announced a plan to increase pay ranges for city employees. He said city employees’ wages have fallen below the market competitors and that he plans to increase pay and increase health insurance by 11%. The council will compare current city employees’ wages to the market competitors in August.
“If approved by the city council, this plan will include pay ranges above the market and will be a $10 million commitment to our employees,” Seewood said. He said he hopes these commitments will result in retaining and hiring new employees. Seewood said this increase is much larger than what has been allocated to city employees in previous budgets.
He also announced a plan to add a new department: the Housing and Neighborhood Services Department. This department would focus on ways to develop affordable housing and improve other housing services. He also proposed other ways to help unhoused people.
“We have budgeted more than $1.7 million for contractual services that includes $532,000 for an overnight warming shelter and year-round services provided by Room at the Inn,” Seewood said. “It also includes more than $225,000 for Turning Point to provide drop-in services for those experiencing homelessness.”
City Council is having a budget work session on Saturday for the public to attend. The budget will officially be introduced to the council on the July 17. City Council meetings on Aug. 7, Aug. 21 and Sept. 5 will include opportunities for the public to discuss the proposed budget. The budget will be voted on by the council on Sept. 18 for the upcoming fiscal year starting Oct. 1.