Big vote is expected this week on pay raises for all city workers. But at least one Shreveport Councilman is waving a caution flag. John Nickelson says the city does not have the money to sustain a 13 percent increase for all city workers.  And the internal audit report he requested shows the increase is not sustainable without substantial budget cuts or additional revenue.

What Is the Plan to Pay for the Increase?

For short term funding, the council is proposing taking money from the water and sewer reserve fund, riverfront dollars, and American rescue plan money which is one time money. There has been some talk about a millage increase to pay for the raises over time, but that has not yet been proposed. Monies will also be shifted from other city funds to pay for the increases.

Nickelson sent this message to his fellow councilmembers:

Over five years the fiscal impact of this decision exceeds $100 million according to Internal Audit's analysis, and once raises are given, they cannot be taken back.  Please consider delaying the decision to give the administration the time necessary to conduct a compensation study and to propose a funding mechanism for any non-public safety compensation increases the study supports. That is the only responsible path forward.

How Much Will This Increase Cost Each Year?

The internal audit report shows this increase will cost at least $7 million a year in salaries and benefits (including retirement obligations) for non-public safety workers. It will cost $12 million a year for police and fire personnel.

 

Nickelson is hopeful the council can take a step back and do what is best "for the common good of our city and the nearly two hundred thousand people we collectively represent."

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