Members of the Houston City Council seem poised next week to approve a 2023 budget that will include a cost of living wage increase for all of the city’s workforce following a session Monday night.
While no formal vote was taken, it appears a majority of the council will approve an 8.3 percent increase that was originally in the budget. The cost is $123,644. A majority of the board last week wanted further study of the wage picture before approving the document that was originally set for a first reading last week.
The request caused Mayor Willy Walker and Personnel Chair Sam Kelley to bristle because they thought the budget was set for approval after hearing no opposition earlier, they said.
Council members studied the 8.3 percent across-the-board cost of living adjustment and considered options that included the 8.3 percent for those earning less than $50,000 and a lower rate percentage (5 percent) for a handful of workers who earn more than $50,000. Other configurations also were discussed.
One would have given everyone a lump sum. Alderman Don Romines led the discussion based on several options for the council to consider.
Other items from the work session:
•A complete benefits package document given to each employee that shows their wages, retirement benefits, insurance and other perks. Alderwoman Sheila Walker made the suggestion.
•The study of all wage rates within the city, including years of service. Further review of health insurance benefits when rate proposals arrive soon.
•Consideration of financial projections by City Administrator Mark Campbell that show city government seemed likely to show revenue up $300,000-$350,000 for the year. That would put it in a better position than a year ago, he said.
•Both readings of the budget will likely occur Dec. 19.
Adjourned into a closed session to discuss personnel.
DEATH NOTICE: Karla Kay Shaver
Graveside services for Karla Kay Shaver, 63, are 1 p.m. Thursday, April 6, at Ellis Prairie Cemetery.