By SHELLY WILKISON
The City Council approved the last of the employee pay increases Monday, making most of its salaries more competitive with neighboring cities.
The total cost of the pay increases for the current fiscal year is $225,860 — $8,787 higher than the costs of adjustments recommended in the salary study.
The adjustment in salaries, for the most part, stem from an extensive salary study commissioned by the Council from Ray Associates. The study, which was presented to Council for implementation in October, called for significant pay increases for some positions to bring Liberty Hill city salaries to the market median range of 13 cities used in the comparison.
If the Council had implemented the study as presented, the total cost to the City would have been $179,000 — a 15.66 percent increase in payroll costs this fiscal year. However, the Ray study did not include funding for the Administrator’s pay raise, nor did it include a pay increase for the Municipal Court Judge or the pay of a recently hired police officer. Ray’s study also didn’t include funding for adoption of a police pay scale, which the Council adopted.
The current city budget included a 15 percent increase in payroll costs in anticipation of the results of the study. Ray Associates was paid $29,754 to conduct the survey.
When the study was presented, the Council had concerns about implementing the recommendations without regard for employee performance and tenure, and funding. As a result, each position was considered individually with the goal still being to raise the salary to the recommended competitive level.
The first of those was City Administrator Greg Boatright, who received a 30 percent pay increase to $119,325, with an additional 7.5 percent increase in both 2018 and 2019 contingent upon performance. The three-year increase of 45 percent will bring his salary to $137,895 in 2019.
Economic Development Director Lance Dean received an 18 percent increase bringing his salary to $90,000.
Police Chief Maverick Campbell saw a 15 percent pay increase to $82,972. An additional 6.5 percent increase in 2018 and 2019 was approved contingent upon performance, which would bring his salary to $94,109 in 2019.
Director of Planning Sally McFeron received a 17 percent increase raising her salary to $82,667.
Public Works Director Wayne Bonnet received a 20 percent increase to $82,667. An additional 7.5 percent was approved for 2018 and 2019 contingent upon performance, which will bring his salary to $95,532 in 2019.
City Secretary Barbara Zwernemann received a 20 percent pay increase to bring her salary to $67,912.
Police Lt. Jeff Ringstaff received a 24 percent pay increase to $78,821.
The salary study showed police department salaries fell well below the cities used in the comparison. To raise those salaries to the market median meant double-digit pay increases for all officers.
Sgt. Robert Fox received a 27 percent increase to $65,906; Sgt. Royce Graeter received a 25 percent increase to $64,476; Officer James Wofford received a 16.9 percent increase to $54,829; Officer David Bonessi received a 21 percent increase to $48,500; Officer Jeff Farmer saw an increase of 26.2 percent to $52,829; and Officer Gregorio Gonzales received a 14 percent increase to $44,500.
Utility Superintendent Vince Perkins received a 20 percent pay increase to $66,000.
Accounting Assistant Zach Gill received a 7 percent increase to $49,313.
Municipal Court Judge Kevin Madison received a $3,599 pay increase bringing his salary to $21,600.
On Monday, the Council approved a 5 percent pay increase for the employees who the survey determined were already at the mid-point.
Those included Utility Billing Coordinator Katheryn Mitchell ($44,940); Municipal Court Administrator Tracy Ventura ($67,526); Water Operator (Class C) Trey Evans ($41,496); Wastewater Plant Operator Dewey Pierce ($45,864); Water Operator (Class C) Cory Seyk ($44,728); Utility Assistant Dot Walenta ($38,984); and part-time Utility Billing Clerk Mary Ann McLeod ($34,088).