Lynchburg, VA - For the first time in five years, Lynchburg city and school employees could see a pay raise.
That's part of the proposed budget City Manager Kimball Payne presented to council Tuesday.
Officials say it's a matter of making Lynchburg competitive. With the economy slowly recovering, some surrounding cities and counties are looking to give their employees raises, as well, putting pressure on, in the Hill City to show employees here, that they're valued.
It's like music to the ears of every Lynchburg city employee.
"For the first time since 2008, the proposed budget supports an across the board pay increase for city and schools employees" said Payne during his presentation.
With an economy finally on the upswing, city employees could be looking at a 2.5-3% pay raise; Public safety employees, 1%.
"City employees have done more with less and their dedication, coupled with strong fiscal management, have allowed us to fulfill our obligation to deliver important services to citizens" said Payne.
"You want to stay competitive markedly, and you know compete with our surrounding counties and localities" said Director of Public Works Dave Owen.
He says, especially this year, following June's derecho, his employees are in need of a moral boost only a pay raise can provide.
"We worked, I believe 30-40 days straight without a break. They worked in very hot, humid conditions. But that's part of being a public servant" he said.
"It shows that we're valued here, and I think people take that to heart" said LynComm Supervisor, Matthew Closs.
Closs says competitive pay won't only keep employees, but it will keep them happy.
"With the economy the way it is, and trying to recover, and get caught back up on bills, every little bit helps" he said.
The proposed budget is not calling for any tax raises, just a $2 monthly increase on water and sewage fees.
It also includes fully supporting the school system's comprehensive school improvement plan, which calls for the construction of a new Heritage High School.
A vote on the budget won't be for several weeks, and it will follow numerous public meetings and discussions by city council.