TEMPLE TERRACE — It has been five years since the city's nonunion workers have received a raise, and City Manager Gerald Seeber warns if that isn't corrected, the city will lose talented people and have to spend a lot of money in new hires.
"I'm concerned that some of the mid-level people, they don't have a defined benefit plan that keeps them anchored here,'' Seeber said during a break in City Council action this week.
The lack of raises, and the fact that the city has to dip into its savings to maintain services during the weakened economy, are two reasons he proposed a series of workshops in the next few months to take a close look at what the city is taking in and what it is spending, and come up with solutions for the 2014-15 budget and beyond.
"We have used reserves, as most cities do, to fill the gap in the slow years,'' he told council members in a work session prior to the regular meeting. "We can only do that if you squirrel some money away during good years.''
Council members, following Seeber's advice that "we eat this elephant one bite a time,'' agreed to a schedule of looking over details of the $48 million budget in at least six workshops before May, in time to plan next year's budget.
"We've got to address salaries. We've got to,'' council member David Pogorilich said.
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Members talked of having department heads separate their needs from their wants. "What does it take to run that department to provide the service that we need to provide, and then, what would make running that department easier, what would make it more cost effective,'' council member Alison Fernandez said.
Grant Rimbey said the council should "concentrate not just on treading water like we've been doing but also revenue generation,'' and said annexation and trying to fully regenerate the designated redevelopment district, which he pointed out includes far more property than the stalled Downtown Temple Terrace project.
In the workshops, the council will review the sanitation and refuse collection fund; the general fund, water and sewer utility and debt service fund; five-year options for general fund revenue; and capital improvement programs for buildings, parks, utilities, streets and storm water.
Philip Morgan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3435.