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.