City waste department employees receive salary bump following Aug. 2 executive session

BUCKHANNON – The city’s Waste Collection Board met early Tuesday with one mission on their mind for the 7:30 a.m. special session: to discuss and possibly approve an employee wage increase for employees working for the Buckhannon Waste Department.

During the first few minutes of the meeting, waste board members wasted no time getting down to business, voting to go into executive session to discuss wages for personnel. Approximately 45 minutes later, they re-entered their public special session and voted unanimously to give the City of Buckhannon Waste Collection employees a 50 cent-per-hour.

City council does not have to approve the raises since the waste board — like the city sanitary sewer board and the water board — are enterprise funds that operate independently of the general fund.

Buckhannon Mayor Robbie Skinner said they would make the raise retroactive to the first day of the current payroll which began on July 17, 2022.

On Wednesday, Amberle Jenkins, assistant recorder and director of finance and administration for the City of Buckhannon, told My Buckhannon the approved increase in pay for the Buckhannon City Waste Collection employees will affect 16 employees and she said the last across-the-board wage increase for the Buckhannon Waste Collection employees happened in July 2021.

On Wednesday, Skinner said he was pleased with the decision to approve the raises, adding this increase will not be all employees receive. The City of Buckhannon held off on giving any across-the-board raises during its 2022-2023 fiscal year budget, passed in March 2022.

At the time, city officials said they planned to revisit the issue after the beginning of the fiscal year, July 1, and might implement salary increases for full-time employees based on employee efficiency, longevity or utilizing some other formula.

“I wholeheartedly support the effort to improve the quality of life for our employees,” Skinner told My Buckhannon. “We are fortunate to have many dedicated and talented professionals who come to work every day to make our community one of the best in the nation. Our city is a fantastic place to live, work and play largely because of the work our employees do, and we need to make sure we’re financially taking care of our family. Make no mistake, our city is a family.”

Skinner said the recently assembled Revenue and Expense Review Committee will be meeting later in August to consider and recommend significant pay raises to Buckhannon City employees across the city, including additional raises for the waste collection department employees.

He said that every Buckhannon City Department head has provided their recommendations for the Revenue and Expense Review Committee to consider.

“Our goal would be for all of those raises to be implemented early in the fourth quarter of this year,” Skinner said, adding that the Revenue and Expense Review Committee is specifically considering pay raises for employees largely because of current economic conditions. “We must pay our public works and administrative professionals competitive wages in order to reduce employee turnover and continue our long legacy of providing high-quality services to our community.”

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