Monroe County employees could be looking at a 5-percent increase to their pay in 2023, while inflation is running a few points higher than that.
At their Tuesday night meeting, Monroe County councilors voted unanimously to recommend for current budget planning purposes that a 5-percent cost-of-living adjustment be made to county employee compensation.
That’s the amount that will be used by staff as they draft the 2023 county budget.
Tuesday’s vote to recommend a 5-percent increase came after county board of commissioners president Julie Thomas reported to the council that the commissioners support an increase that’s nearly double that amount—9.5 percent.
Earlier this year, when Bloomington’s city council deliberated on increasing the local income tax (LIT) paid by all county residents, part of the pitch from the administration included a need to pay city employees more, to stem the tide of their departures.
The data provided at the time by mayor John Hamilton’s administration included the number of city employees who have left their jobs over the last few years, and the year-to-date numbers for 2022.
The nearly 100 departures in 2021 was a dramatic jump from the roughly 60 departures a year for the previous six years. And the 36 departures up April of this year put Bloomington on a pace to match the big number from 2021. The city of Bloomington has about 850 employees.
Ridership numbers, through June, for BT continue to show improvement over last year, but are still falling short of pre-pandemic figures.
The Bloomington city council’s approval of a local income tax increase earlier this year, which is supposed to earmark about $4 million a year to support public transit, is already reflected in the first draft of Bloomington Transit’s 2023 budget.
Bloomington Transit board members reviewed the draft budget at their regular meeting on Tuesday.
The $34 million that is proposed to be spent in 2023 is more than double the $15 million approved for this year’s budget.
Most of the increase is due to the capital cost of buying 18 new buses—four replacements, eight for expanded service, and six for increased frequency. All of those buses would be battery-electric vehicles.
Some of the increase is due to factors that are not unique to Bloomington. The line item for fuel, in the supplies category, will be increasing from $877,500 to $1,472,500. Right now, diesel fuel costs $4.30 per gallon. That stacks up against the 2022 budgeted amount of $2.75 per gallon. So given the market uncertainty, the draft 2023 budget has allowed $5.25 per gallon for diesel fuel.