By William Thompson: Quay County Sun
– Budget $1.3 million more than year ago.
Tucumcari’s finance director Marty Garcia said Tuesday the city’s budget has increased by $1.3 million from last year, mainly due to increases in payroll for city employees and money set aside for renovation of the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
The $16.8 million budget was approved 5-0 in a special meeting of city commissioners late Tuesday.
“The commissioners each have items they wanted in the budget that didn’t make it into the budget, but that is normal,” he said.
City Commissioner Bettie Ditto said Tuesday she had some concerns about the budget.
“I’m really disappointed we had no money for the swimming pool, but we’re working on getting emergency funding to at least get it ready for next year,” she said.
The budget takes effect July 1. Garcia said city employees’ pay will increase 25 cents per hour for every employee. That includes salaried employees as their 25 cents per hour increase was computed based on a 40-hour work week.
“We provide services and the people who provide services have to be paid,” Garcia said. “The 25 cents per hour per employee adds up to $60,000. Plus, health insurance costs for our employees have increased about $80,000.”
Ditto said she didn’t like the idea of an across-the-board payroll increase, but said she did not challenge it.
“I’m for merit-based pay increases,” Ditto said, “but I went along with this 25 cents per hour increase because our employees need to have something. Next fiscal year I will work to get different job descriptions for city jobs and pay increases based on merit.”
Garcia said he is happy the budget is only $1.3 million higher than last year’s budget. He said that is due to commissioners realizing that the city’s reserve funds need to be maintained and that the city has changed some full-time positions to part-time positions.
“One animal control position was made part time and a position at the library was changed to part time,” he said.
Another increase in the budget was due to higher gas and oil prices. Garcia said the city allotted $97,000 last year for gasoline and oil purchases. The current budget allows for $128,000 in gas and oil purchases.