Richmond Heights officials pass budget minus raises for some

Richmond Heights council members Monday voted down an amendment that would have given 13 city staffers who have “topped out” a 1.5 percent cost of living stipend in the 2019-2020 budget.

Rick Vilcek started the discussion by saying that it wasn’t “fair and equitable” to not give the 13 employees (unnamed in the meeting) at least a 1.5 percent cost of living raise.

In the discussion Mayor Jim Thomson, and council members Danny Hebenstreit and Reginald Finney agreed. Finney saying that next year 23 city employees will also have been working for the city that they too will top out, and that a plan should be in place.

Member Megan Moylan though pointed out that the budget isn’t healthy, and some positions, like city clerk, are going unfilled. Other belt-tightening measures are being taken. She said, “We have to be realistic. The money isn’t there.”

City Manager Amy Hamilton said when asked, that the city sold property, which helped balance the budget in 2017-18 and 2018-19. The current budget will borrow from the reserve.

Dan Sebben said the $13,000 to pay for raises is a “drop in the bucket” compared to paying for residents’ trash pick-up, which he quoted at $1.1 million. He pointed out that Maplewood residents now pay for their trash pickup, but not Brentwood residents.

In the end the amendment to give a 1.5 percent raise to the 13 employees failed 5-4. The final vote for the budget passed 7-2.

6 thoughts on “Richmond Heights officials pass budget minus raises for some

  1. Maplewood could no longer afford to pick up the tab for trash pick up so yet another tax increase was imposed last year, or the year before I can’t remember since there have been so many, to offset the funds. So real estate taxes went up with the funds being earmarked for trash pickup. So the more your property is worth the more you pay for trash pickup. Or if you rent you don’t pay anything at all until your landlord passes that on to you with a rent increase.

  2. With all the retail and new hotels being jammed into the 40-Hanley corridor I find it hard to believe RH has a problem raising revenue. Perhaps there has been a massive drop in Galleria revenue due to the increase in crime?

  3. Does “topped out” mean they are at the top of their salary range/pay grade?

    One thing to consider: employees that don’t consistently receive cost of living raises may go somewhere else, and hiring/training new staff may end up costing the city more than that 1.5% raise. The cost of living adjustment for 2019 calculated by the social security administration is 2.8% so the 1.5% is not unreasonable.

      • Maplewood residents (who previously did NOT pay for trash pickup) had to pay for trash pickup while the Walmart/Sam’s TIF project was gearing up. City officials promised it was only temporary. And a few years later, after the development began generating enough tax income to offset the TIF, the city began picking up the tab for trash pickup again. Maybe a current or former aldercreature, mayor or administrator can chime in to confirm.