TARPON SPRINGS — Most city employees are poised to get 4 percent raises, with workers who absorbed extra responsibilities in recent years getting an even bigger bump.
The proposed increases come after years of stagnant wages, even as the city rolled back staff and added to employee workloads, city manager Mark LeCouris said.
This is the first time in at least four years the city has given across-the-board percentage raises.
An annual survey conducted by the city found that some Tarpon Springs workers make less than their counterparts in Safety Harbor, Pinellas Park and other small cities, according to city documents.
The city estimates the raises for 200 employees will cost about $200,000.
Wages for police and firefighters, who are unionized, are negotiated separately.
"I'm glad we're able to finally do this and move out of the many years of not being able to do much for the employees," LeCouris said. "I think this is going to move us to this middle ground we like to be as a city."
Tarpon Springs commissioners said they support the raises. Their own salaries will not change.
Although it's not automatic, commissioners also said that LeCouris and city clerk Irene Jacobs should be included in the 4 percent salary increases.
LeCouris' salary will jump from $109,884, plus health insurance and other benefits, to $114,801.
Employees who may get salary bumps above the 4 percent include a maintenance worker who has saved the city thousands of dollars with his advanced carpentry skills, LeCouris said, and a librarian who the city survey said is underpaid compared with people with similar positions in other cities.
Four commissioners voted in favor of the raises. Commissioner Townsend Tarapani was absent. The commission also agreed to increase city employee pay grades, bumping the minimum and maximum salaries in each grade by 2 percent.
"I just want to thank our employees for hanging in there the years they didn't get raises," Commissioner David Banther said.
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