Cd'A wants 3% raises - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Cd'A wants 3% raises

But property taxes would not increase

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Posted: Thursday, July 14, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 10:36 am, Fri Nov 16, 2012.

COEUR d'ALENE - Four new police cars, two front loaders for the street department, and a cash reserve set aside for construction on the McEuen Field redevelopment project.

Oh - and raises for 300-plus city employees.

The city of Coeur d'Alene is proposing a $77.97 million budget for fiscal year 2011-2012 - slightly higher than this year's $77.91 million financial plan - which includes a number of capital purchases, project plans and 3 percent increases for all employees.

However, the plan would not include a property tax increase.

"I'm very pleased to be able to come forward with this budget," said Finance Director Troy Tymesen on the plan that reinstates the full contractual COLA raise for the first time in three years.

If it's approved, the pay increase would equal $628,000 spread out over 353.5 full-time equivalent positions.

Two years ago, the city negotiated with its three unions to forego a COLA increase with the condition that the city avoid layoffs, which it did.

Citing employee morale, the city last year found a little wiggle room in personnel expenses to offer a 1 percent increase.

This year, money from new growth as well as managing staff positions, among other avenues, helped the city find money for raises. It did consider a negative public reaction on the timing of the proposed increases - unemployment in Kootenai County is around 11 percent - during the budgeting process, but wanted to make good on the union contracts.

"We wanted to do everything we could to own up to the agreements in place," Tymesen said.

The budget isn't official. It will go before the City Council for adoption in the first week of September. The City Council will get a closer look at the numbers at 5:30 tonight during a workshop in Old Council Chambers at City Hall. The $77.9 million total, up for approval tonight, would hit the high-water mark, meaning as the city still works through the budget it can't exceed that number, although it could end up with something below it.

Citizens contacted by The Press on Wednesday had a mixed reaction to the proposed pay increases. Some, like Patrick Fee, said it doesn't matter one way or the other, while others thought the timing seemed off.

"It's just a little ridiculous to cut everything and then give raises," said Ron Smith, a resident for eight years who is satisfied with city services overall but not with pay increases now. "They shouldn't do any raises as long as we're cutting all around."

There has been a reduction in staff over the years from a city payroll stance, officials said.

The 353.5 proposed full-time equivalent positions in 2012 is up .87 positions from the current plan. However, three years ago the city had 363 positions. Taking into account four positions now funded by federal grants in the police department, the city has cut back 14 positions from its payroll.

"We were able to manage the staffing as the economy was changing," Tymesen said, adding that the city didn't add staff as the economy shot up around 2006.

New growth should give the city $345,000 in new property taxes. The city also expects to save $316,000 in dropped services and supplies.

The police cars and front loaders are pieces the city has had to cross off previous budgets from lack of revenue. Appearing this year for the first time are a pair of McEuen Field related projects for which the city is ready to set aside money. Slated in the plan is $240,000 in special funds for a possible baseball complex at Cherry Hill Park. The site has been identified as a possible replacement location for the American Legion baseball field, which will move from its McEuen Field home as the park undergoes transformation. The Eagles club owns the land near Cherry Hill, and the city is setting aside $52,000 for a possible deal.

It's also slotting $2.6 million in urban renewal money for construction on McEuen Field.

Per state statute, the city is allowed to seek up to a 3 percent property tax increase from the year before. Two years ago, it did not increase property taxes. The current year's budget includes a 1.5 percent increase.

The fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

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30 comments:

  • JoeIdaho posted at 11:51 pm on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    JoeIdaho Posts: 2841

    Hayden Guy; you said:
    "Class warfare at its best. The middle class fighting against the middle class and the upper class is winning"
    And then:
    "For all of you that are attacking the workers for wanting to get a raise, you are attacking the wrong people"

    Evidently, you're a government worker, as well as a socialist.
    The "workers" that "want to get a raise" work for ME. And the rest of SOCIETY.
    They don't work for a for profit company, but you conveniently left that out, favoring the premise of class warfare that liberals use as much as they can.
    Get it right; this IS about the workers, THEY are the ones who work to get THEMSELVES more of MY money, while thier jobs are prefectly secure, regardless of the economy.
    But you; like so many socialists, see the need to shelter them more.
    I say cut their budgets by 30%, and then see what happens. We'll actually VOTE on what we want to keep, as we OWN the government. We want snowplows, we VOTE to have them. More Police?
    VOTE.
    More Building Inspectors?
    VOTE.
    You, on the other hand; say "don;t blame the employees", while they are the ones asking for & (probably) getting the raises from people that are havng a hard time paying their own mortgage.

     
  • Anyone posted at 4:42 pm on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    Anyone Posts: 1557

    Can't afford teachers but we can afford a park? Huh?

     
  • chouli posted at 4:10 pm on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    chouli Posts: 1254

    just how many years in a row do we have to purchase new police cars?? how about using what they have and maybe rebuilding engines when they need it. the police should not expect new every year.

    and getting a raise (1%) last year and now another raise (3%) this year is just outta line. how about the concept of reducing the City's overall budget instead of raising the ceiling every year to a higher amount. just when does it stop? never??

    and if the City wasn't spending money to tear out the existing beautiful park, they would have more money in their budget overall...instead they spend money to tear out what we have and then rebuild the ball fields and boat launch at huge expense at another location, and then build the megatron park for the tourists. spend, spend, spend...they're drunk on spending even with the writing on the wall that the economy is crumbling.

    I have noticed that the boat launch is used non-stop since this spring. I don't believe their statement that it is under utilized. That's bogus. It's one of our best boat launches and it's gonna be nearly impossible to rebuild it "equal to or better" somewhere else.

    The ball fields have been a beautiful sight all summer also. What a slice of Americana to see and hear a ball game in progress while walking by. Even stopping to watch and enjoy the game and the beautiful field. What a shame the elite few think progress is equal to destroying what we have and building every square inch full of tourist nonsense. Less is more.

     
  • chouli posted at 4:09 pm on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    chouli Posts: 1254

    just how many years in a row do we have to purchase new police cars?? how about using what they have and maybe rebuilding engines when they need it. the police should not expect new every year.

    and getting a raise (1%) last year and now another raise (3%) this year is just outta line. how about the concept of reducing the City's overall budget instead of raising the ceiling every year to a higher amount. just when does it stop? never??

    and if the City wasn't spending money to tear out the existing beautiful park, they would have more money in their budget overall...instead they spend money to tear out what we have and then rebuild the ball fields and boat launch at huge expense at another location, and then build the megatron park for the tourists. spend, spend, spend...they're drunk on spending even with the writing on the wall that the economy is crumbling.

    I have noticed that the boat launch is used non-stop since this spring. I don't believe their statement that it is under utilized. That's bogus. It's one of our best boat launches and it's gonna be nearly impossible to rebuild it "equal to or better" somewhere else.

    The ball fields have been a beautiful sight all summer also. What a slice of Americana to see and hear a ball game in progress while walking by. Even stopping to watch and enjoy the game and the beautiful field. What a shame the elite few think progress is equal to destroying what we have and building every square inch full of tourist nonsense. Less is more.

     
  • greyhound2 posted at 2:33 pm on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    greyhound2 Posts: 698

    Under the Obama program of sharing the pain, it would only be fair for local CDA and regional agencies to take a 33% pay, benefit and budget reduction cut.

     
  • Jullee posted at 11:00 am on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    Jullee Posts: 534

    Why doesn't the city take the money and pay off all their loans ? The city pays out thousands every month in interest on loans. That is simply money down the toilet !
    And now they want to borrow more money for McEuen . With interest of course.
    I bet the city employees are just happy to have a job, with great benefits.
    Maybe the city council and the city offices should be drinking water from the tap, not buying bottled water from Hayden. More tax payers money down the drain.
    Too bad they have the power to get more money out of our pockets whenever they over spend.
    The arrogance of Government !!!!

     
  • justbcuz posted at 10:51 am on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    justbcuz Posts: 15

    Sounds as if government in North Idaho is just as deaf as WA DC...Sad to loose McE Field but they were going to do what they wanted anyway...

     
  • hayden_guy posted at 10:33 am on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    hayden_guy Posts: 398

    Class warfare at its best. The middle class fighting against the middle class and the upper class is winning.

    For all of you that are attacking the workers for wanting to get a raise, you are attacking the wrong people. Fight for a raise yourself. Quit being satisfied with the rich getting richer while the middle class erodes away. Fight for a raise yourself instead of being happy with no raise year after year after year (essentially a pay cut each year while the executives get raises each year on your work).

     
  • Ziggy posted at 9:30 am on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    Ziggy Posts: 1053

    Ah, cash for McTourist Park? I thought no tax payer dollars were to be used (except for the LCDC which IS taxpayer money). School budgets have been cut, state workers haven't received a raise in years, etc., etc. CdA is still stuck in 2006. However, come November some of that mindset should disappear. Would that we could resurrect the old city council of years ago.

     
  • go zags posted at 9:14 am on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    go zags Posts: 9

    Just say No......... If the employess dont like not getting a raise they can seek employment elsewhere.

     
  • Why Not posted at 9:10 am on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    Why Not Posts: 3727

    The unions can take a hike. The President hasn’t fixed the economy yet. Besides thanks to the Pres and the Cons of DC all people with jobs all got FICA raises this year anyway. The pay raises are unbelievable considering the city’s relatively high rate of pay. Jeez my last raise was in 2007 as well.

    The City of Coeur d’Alene also has a lot of vacant high end real estate, right? Are those properties not assessed as under or undeveloped because they have never sold? Nothing like tax breaks for the developers, eh? That along with the tax shift into the coffers of the shadow LCDC government and the city can’t quite make ends meet, is anyone really surprised?

    $2.6M for Urban Renewal at McEuen Park, isn’t urban renewal the domain of the LCDC shadow government?

    How about those new police cruisers? The more efficient way to serve this community is to combine police, fire and dispatch under the county. Imagine the money saved by eliminating the duplication of services.

     
  • mister d posted at 9:10 am on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    mister d Posts: 1531

    I want a 3% raise. I have no real problem with employees making more money because I know that most of that will be spent locally. I do have a problem with all the money being spent for the tourist park that was not supposed to cost us any more money than LCDC has already taken.

     
  • Dan Gookin posted at 8:44 am on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    Dan Gookin Posts: 661

    Ah! I see it now. Thanks, rexaroni.

     
  • posted at 8:37 am on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    Posts:

    Dan, Rex is right. We're still in the 2010-11 fiscal year (which ends 30 Sept.) and in this current year, the city hiked property taxes 1.5 percent. In the proposed budget for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, they're projecting no property tax increase. However, as some have duly noted, they aren't decreasing property taxes, either.

     
  • rexaroni posted at 8:17 am on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    rexaroni Posts: 189

    Dan Gookin, if I read the article correctly, next year's budget plan does not include a tax increase, but this years did include a 1.5% increase.

     
  • LTRLTR posted at 8:11 am on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    LTRLTR Posts: 1171

    1. Another fine example of accountability....The City promised that they would not spend any taxpayer money for the McEuen Park Project but failed to be "upfront" about savings for a new ball field that is the result of related future changes to the Park.

    Do you rememer that the City raised your taxes last year to buy library books and a copy machine? This year they have so much extra money laying around that they have a special fund and can give 3% raises to employees. Amazing!

    2. "It's also slotting $2.6 million in urban renewal money for construction on McEuen Field"...wait a minute....

    I thought the City has "no control" over the Lake City Development Corp (urban renewal)? Didn't the State of Idaho also say the City and urban renewal are separate entities? Is this an admission that the City does control our local urban renewal?

    I know the answer. Do you?

     
  • Dan Gookin posted at 8:09 am on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    Dan Gookin Posts: 661

    Some clarification from the article please: "However, the plan would not include a property tax increase." and then at the end, "The current year's budget includes a 1.5 percent increase."

    Well? Which is it?

     
  • ancientemplar posted at 7:48 am on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    ancientemplar Posts: 1108

    Well I guess Mc Park is a foregone conclusion.

     
  • rexaroni posted at 7:48 am on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    rexaroni Posts: 189

    My last raise was July 1, 2007. I am happy to have a job. They should be, too. Giving raises using taxpayer money in this economy is a slap in the face of all taxpayers. Even if there is no property tax increase, that money could be used for better things than "employee morale." How about helping to fund the 4-H program instead?

     
  • isntitironic posted at 7:38 am on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    isntitironic Posts: 55

    Joe- totally agree but it is about one party. For decades we've been subject to an imbalance of representation in Idaho. Don't fool yourself that party agendas do not overshadow and overrule the hopes and needs of the common citizen. Personally, I am independent and realize that without diversified representation and ideas at state and local levels, we will continue to be subject to the principles of "Business As Usual."
    When citizens do reach the point of disruptive screaming at officials during meetings, it's a good bet there will be changes, but unfortunately that change will mean handcuffs and a criminal record for otherwise law-abiding citizens. Few of the sheeple are willing to go that far.
    The real power for the public is in the voting booth.

     
  • milburnschmidt posted at 7:38 am on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    milburnschmidt Posts: 1161

    As millions of Americans tighten their belts and look grimly to the future and see our nations leaders paraylized trying to figure out how to return to fiscal responsibility local leaders show the same lemming approach to spending. Got it spend it. Anyone with a govt job right now should be grateful and annual raises are out of the questions. If social security sees no inflation neither should cities. Both political parties are guilty of out of control spending our country is not out of control because of taxpayers mistakes but from elected politicians pursuing legacies and indulging in feel good projects we dont want or can afford. A democratic takeover of Govt would result in the same problems its a entitlement mentality this generation suffers from.

     
  • uncle fester posted at 7:34 am on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    uncle fester Posts: 831

    Money for the field? Thought that was to be done without taxpayer funds. 3 percent for Sgt Cupcake, maybe she can get a new "look".

     
  • idahoguy posted at 7:17 am on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    idahoguy Posts: 932

    New police cars? How much is one? Then how much is buying a quality rebuilt engine and transmission for a local business worth?

    Heavy equipment (used) is cheap and everywhere. So why buy new?

    Buy everything used and boost the local economy or buy nothing at all.

     
  • JoeIdaho posted at 6:54 am on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    JoeIdaho Posts: 2841

    It's not about one party anything, it's about local state & federal government FAR out of control. These people are insidious; they are ALL about making their departments larger, more powerful; and more demanding of the public they are supposed to SERVE.
    This is sickening. The idea that they get pay raises while their jobs are secure is ludicrous. At some point, enough of us are going to start SCREAMING at them in meetings, council meetings, all of it; to the point where change will HAVE to come. Until then, they will take advantage of us in every way.
    Just think about how they want to put money in a reserve account for McKuen....NO ONE wants this project, but we get it anyways.
    Like I said; OUT OF CONTROL. Just like the debt ceiling, "we'll lower spending as long as you give us more taxes".
    Sick. Very sick.

     
  • isntitironic posted at 6:38 am on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    isntitironic Posts: 55

    DeNiles, totally agree with the whole election process locally and state. The one-party arrangement has led to an imbalance statewide that has done more harm than good. Although few will admit it, people foolishly tend to vote for party/name recognition.

     
  • isntitironic posted at 6:12 am on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    isntitironic Posts: 55

    Okay, for the sake of conversation, here's a question: Why in a right-to-work state are unions discouraged for the general population but are allowed to exist and thrive in the government sector? Based on what is being reported here it's obviously beneficial for workers to have union representation. The whole arrangement seems backwards.

    @ TakeBack - it's more than a punch to the gut - it's a kick to the acorns!

     
  • DeNiles posted at 5:55 am on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    DeNiles Posts: 2450

    Imagine this headline:

    -- GOVERNMENT TIGHTENS BELT, REINING IN COSTS -- TAX BURDENS REDUCED, TAXPAYERS TO GET REFUNDS --

    In realty our countries economy is headed for Victoria Falls in a row boat and the idiots in charge, nationally and locally, are feverishly rowing toward the calamity. Then again those are elected idiots so who are the real fools? I did not vote for any of these monkeys. Did you? Will you again?


     
  • tom posted at 5:47 am on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    tom Posts: 12

    1% pay increase last year and now a 3% pay increase - wow! Business must be really booming if you get your money from taxing those who are out of work.
    Does anybody know of any private sector business anywhere which has given (or will give) a 4% pay increase to all staff? I have had a 0% pay increase for years.
    I say it is time to bust up the unions and make government work for the people and not make the people work for the government.

     
  • TakeBackTheUSA posted at 5:09 am on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    TakeBackTheUSA Posts: 765

    A-fricken-men. Here goes. How many layoffs has the city implemented since 2008 - ZIP. NO one I know is getting a raise now but all are happy to have a job, any job. NO business is giving raises now because in times like this you hunker down. But not gov't. Nope. Profit doesn't mean anything to them because it's never a problem spending other people's money. When local unemployment is over 11% giving gov't workers a raise isn't a slap in the face, it's a punch in the gut.

     
  • The Truth posted at 4:06 am on Thu, Jul 14, 2011.

    The Truth Posts: 2193

    Oh, I simply can't wait to hear the carping, whining and sniveling this article will spur among all the usual suspects!

     
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