Buckhannon Sanitary Board approves recommendation to raise wages

BUCKHANNON – The City of Buckhannon Sanitary Board recently met and discussed the recommendation of the Revenue Review Committee regarding wages for the Buckhannon sanitary workers.

Amberle Jenkins, the city finance and administrative director, said the recommendations of the Revenue Review Committee would cost approximately $48,000.

“However, it really will not affect that budget this much because, in the past year, the budget had some cushion built into it already,” Jenkins said. “Also, in the past year, five people have retired or quit. Some of those wages were built into that budget.”

Other city boards have also taken action on the recommendations.

“For the water employees, it will impact this budget $46,500 since we had a retirement of a senior employee and now our aity attorney will change from salary to contract,” Jenkins shared in an email.

At a Waste Collection Board meeting held at the beginning of September, board members approved a 50-cent per hour wage increase. On top of that, the Waste Collection Board voted to accept the proposed salary increases for Waste Collection employees that were proposed by the Revenue Review Committee.

Buckhannon Mayor Robert Skinner attended Thursday’s meeting virtually and said the Revenue Review Committee met three times and would be meeting again. Each board was evaluated using the same method, and then supervisors were invited to come in and explain the supervisor’s rationale for why they wanted individual raises.

“We have worked to try to equalize across all of our boards and across the general fund as well,” Skinner said. “We want to have some form of continuity where we start wages and where we can take wages when employees achieve certain milestones – whether it be for how many years worked or for skill sets obtained.”

Skinner said the members of the Revenue Review Committee are trying to get everyone on the same playing field and within a few dollars of one another, understanding that each department is different.

“We are all one city organization and we are trying to make sure we are giving everyone a good, fair shake,” Skinner said. “This is a very significant exercise for the City of Buckhannon – we have not had significant pay increases like this in quite some time as far as percentages go. As far as impact on the budget, this will be the largest pay increase impact we have ever done – just because things cost more today.”

Skinner asked on behalf of the Revenue Review Committee that the Sanitary Board accept the recommendation.

“I feel very confident with where we are and I would ask that we support the recommendation,” Skinner said.

Buckhannon City Recorder Randy Sanders asked if this will make Buckhannon competitive with pay scales in other places in the region.

“Yes,” Jenkins replied.

Members of the Sanitary Board unanimously approved the recommendations.

In a phone interview, Sanders said that even though the recommendations and overall budget impacts have been approved by the respective boards, nothing has been finalized as far as individual salary increases go.

“Nothing has been finalized because now the department heads need to go back and talk to the employees and staff,” Sanders said. “October is probably our goal for having the final changes implemented. There is no word on the raises – just plans for how to budget and how that will affect our overall budget. Things still need to be ironed out. Individual increases have not been decided or approved by the departments yet.”

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