At Miguel’s urging, cost-of-living increases for employees to be discussed by board

Aldermen to discuss increase when board meets Tuesday

By Kari Williams

Cost-of-living increases for city employees will be discussed by the Crestwood Board of Aldermen next week at the urging of Ward 3 Alderman Jerry Miguel.

The Board of Aldermen will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26, at the Government Center, 1 Detjen Drive.

“It seems to me that all around us the employees have been receiving about a 2-percent increase,” Miguel told the board at its Feb. 12 meeting. “… I think while our financial situation is stressed, I think we can come up with roughly $40,000 to support an across-the-board increase of something in the $400 (to) $500 area (per employee).”

Miguel referenced St. Louis County employees receiving a 2-percent raise, along with other similar municipalities, to support his request.

Ward 4 Alderman John Foote said he believes city employees have done a “magnificent job” and it is time the city “start to help them out,” but he believes it is “unfair to continually advertise we’re going to have a board meeting on this.”

Foote suggested that newly appointed City Administrator Mark Sime, Finance Officer Greg Kremer and any aldermen with interest, including Miguel, work together to “see if we can’t scrape up enough money.”

“After we have scraped up enough money to do something for our people, then let’s talk about it,” Foote said.

Mayor Jeff Schlink said that was the original plan, but the item will be placed on the board’s next agenda.

“I was going to have the city administrator take a closer look at it once he got on board with the pay plan, look at it as a comprehensive component,” Schlink said.

However, Miguel said he does not think it is fair to ask Sime to “come down with an immediate decision.”

“I think we on the board have been here for the past year or two or more and it’s pretty obvious what other municipalities have done,” Miguel said.

The Ward 3 alderman suggested the cost for increases could be reduced by using the city’s general fund reserve account or excluding the city’s three department heads, of which one position — public works director — is vacant, from receiving an increase.

“I don’t think funding is the issue,” Miguel said. “I think the question is whether we have the desire to come up with that extra 1 percent.”