Leesburg City Manager Bob Alexander reviews the proposed budget Tuesday night. Also pictured are, from left, Councilwomen Debra Long and Judy Powell. (Staff Photo: Danny Carter)
LEESBURG — The Leesburg City Council adopted a spending plan for the coming fiscal year and approved a new compensation plan that will mean a pay increase for many of the city’s 24 employees — all during a five-minute called session Tuesday evening.
Despite the brevity, the actions break new ground for the council both in terms of the budget structure and in regard to having set salary ranges for specific city jobs.
It’s significant for most city employees because many of them will have their pay raised under the compensation study coordinated by City Manager Bob Alexander.
“I think for a lot of employees it should be a pretty substantial increase, more than just a cost-of-living,” Alexander said. “A lot of our salaries were extremely low, and really were not competitive,”
“This year is the first we’ve done a study in maybe six years,” he said. “We compared salaries of each and every employee and also did an interview with every employee to make sure we had the right classification. We came up with a matrix system and every three years plan to do another study to update this classification study”
Leesburg used a similar study done for Lee County in 2012 as a reference in developing pay grades and pay ranges.
Implementing the new plan will cost the city $58,109. This allows each employee to either be raised to the minimum of hir or her job grade, or to receive a 3 percent cost-of-living raise, whichever is greater.
The compensation plan has 19 different pay grades. The entry-level pay grade, for example, has a minimum salary of $21,725, a midpoint of $27,700 and a maximum of $33,674. On the other end, the top executive level has a range of $52,285 to $81,042.
Both the Fiscal year 2015 budget and the pay compensation plan were adopted without opposition.
The budget, which begins July 1, includes $2,051,004 for the general fund. The largest slice of the general fund, $784,837, goes to the public safety department. A close second is the public works department at $584,108. General government takes another $463,903. The allocation for municipal court is $65,400. The city’s contingency fund is $152,756.
Leesburg’s SPLOST budget is $365,000, which includes $255,000 for capital outlay projects and $110,000 for debt service.
The city’s Water and Sewer Fund is $1,446,442.
Alexander said the city has established a separate Solid Waste Fund at $477,047 to more accurately reflect the cost associated with the service.