Grand Rapids elected leaders set to receive highest pay raise in 36 years amid budget shortfall

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Grand Rapids city commissioners are set to receive their largest raise in 36 years. This is the second highest at the time for the mayor’s position as the city sees a budget deficit of $ 15 million to $ 20 million.

The city’s elected leaders do not set their wage increases or decreases. Instead, this work is carried out by the Remuneration Commission for Local Officials, the six members of which are appointed by the Mayor and approved by the City Commission.

The Compensation Commission for Local Officials recommends increasing the salaries of the city’s six city commissioners by 10.25% from $ 25,397 per year to $ 28,000 from July 1, the start of fiscal year 2022.

The Compensation Commission for Local Officials also recommends increasing the mayor’s salary by 17.68% from $ 44,188 to $ 52,000 beginning July 1.

In the following fiscal year, city commissioners’ salaries would increase 10.71% to $ 31,000 and mayor’s salaries would increase 15.38% to $ 60,000 on July 1, 2022.

The last time commissioners received a 5.37% raise was in 1986, when their salary increased by 37.9%, according to the city. Aside from a 40% increase in 2015, 1986 was also the last year a salary increase of more than 5.37% was issued for the mayor’s position.

Although Mayor, then George Heartwell, received a 40% increase to $ 53,200 in 2015, the city said the pay was cut by about 25% to $ 39,924 the following year.

A summary of the salary increases for elected executives issued by the Compensation Committee for Local Officials and compiled by Grand Rapids.

The Remuneration Committee for Local Officials meets every two years to decide on the payment of Grand Rapids’ elected leaders.

While Grand Rapids city commissioners do not recommend or approve the salary increases, they can reject them by a two-thirds majority. If rejected, the elected leaders keep their current salaries.

The raise recommendations were submitted to the city commission at its meeting on Tuesday April 13th.

Neither the commissioners nor the mayor spoke about the increases at the meeting. If the city commission does not vote to reject them by April 29, they will go into effect.

The city manager, also an elected official, is due to receive a 2.5% increase from $ 44,188 to $ 45,293 on July 1 and a further 2.5% increase the following year.

The proposed increases in wages stem from a projected income tax shortage of $ 60 million in the city’s budget over the next three years. For the current budget, which ends June 30, city officials have estimated an income tax loss of $ 15 million to $ 20 million.

The persistent deficit is caused by non-urban residents who normally work in the city but are now able to work from home due to the pandemic and withhold a large portion of their income taxes from Grand Rapids.

Without an estimated $ 94 million to come to the city as part of the federal government’s US bailout, city officials would have previously said the lack of income taxes would have resulted in downsizing and services.

The city’s general fund spending for this fiscal year is approximately $ 149.3 million. The overall spending plan, which includes other funds and revenues, was approved for $ 531 million.

Related Topics: Grand Rapids Avoids Potential Layoffs And Service Cuts With $ 94 Million From The Government

The remuneration commission for local civil servants met twice in March to approve recommendations on wage increases under the city protocol. The minutes, which came with the filing in the city commission’s Tuesday package, did not contain any reasons or discussions behind the increases.

The mayor’s salary increase to $ 52,000 in the coming fiscal year and $ 60,000 in the following year was approved by a 4-2 split vote, according to Minutes.

It was then recommended that the city commissioner’s salary be increased by 2.5% in the next two financial years. It failed with 3-3 votes.

It was then recommended that the city commissioner’s salary be increased to $ 28,000 for the next fiscal year and then to $ 31,000 thereafter. It was accepted with 4: 2.

The city calculator’s two 2.5% increases were unanimously approved.

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