Carson City employees in for 3 percent pay hike

With the cost of living continually on the rise and a labor pool that City Manager Linda Ritter called "tight," Carson City employees are in for a 3 percent annual pay raise under a new labor contract up for a vote by supervisors Thursday.

The last labor agreement for the widespread group of city workers, ranging from forensic technicians to cemetery maintenance workers, ended July 1. Cost of living increases for that three-year contract ranged from 1.5 percent in 2002 to 2.5 percent in 2004.

Those increases were buffeted by higher "longevity" payments that rise with the number of years an employee has been with the city - $200 a year for someone with six years of service, up to $2,100 for an employee with 25 or more years on the job.

Ritter said it was time to ratchet up the annual pay raises with new businesses sucking up qualified workers at sometimes higher pay rates.

"There are some upward pressures on the market," she said. "The labor market is starting to get competitive."

The 3 percent annual pay increase agreed upon by the city and the Carson City Employees Association is within the realm of pay increases for state workers, which range from about 2 percent to 4 percent per year. The contract would be for three years, providing a total pay hike of 9 percent by 2008.

The city had already budgeted for the pay increase, but with uncertainty over how much sales tax revenue will be pumped into city coffers this year, there are now five open jobs the city is "holding back" on filling.

"We're waiting to see where our revenue is," Ritter said.

Employees covered under the labor agreement include what Ritter called "frontline employees" - people other than police or firefighters that often work with the public. Examples include a head life guard, a job that starts out at around $21,000 per year, or upper-level supervisors that make from $45,000 to $65,000 a year.

-- Contact reporter Cory McConnell at or 881-1217.

If you go

WHAT: Carson City Board of Supervisors meeting

WHEN: 8:30 a.m. Thursday

WHERE: Sierra Room of the Carson City Community Center


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