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Mayor warns raises could strain budget in Elmore

ELMORE - Mayor Lowell Krumnow told council last night that recommended wage increases for village employees and police officers may strain the village budget.

Council's personnel committee recommended raises that would add about $60,000 to the village's $3.25 million annual budget, the mayor said.

“I'm not saying people don't deserve the increases,” Mr. Krumnow said. “But is it fiscally responsible to do all these raises in one year?”

The mayor said he is concerned that the lagging economy will force the village to dip into reserve funds to pay the wage increases at the end of the year.

Council members said if money gets tight, they would rather sacrifice some projects to allow the wage increases for about a dozen village workers.

“All we're trying to do is get people a living wage,” said Councilman Rick Claar. “They've been ripped off long enough.”

Council recommended that the village's three full-time police officers get raises of more than 14 percent to bring their salaries closer to wages for employees of the village's utilities department.

Police Chief George Hayes' wages would increase from $18.33 to $21 per hour, and Officer Jeff Harrison's wages would increase from $13.17 to $15.79 per hour, bringing his hourly rate equal to that of the lowest-paid utilities department worker.

Council recommended that village employees receive raises ranging from 23 cents to $2.52 per hour, and suggested that the clerk-treasurer's and tax commissioner's annual salaries be raised $1,000 each to $21,500 and $6,000, respectively.

Council also proposed increasing the education fund for full-time police officers from $500 to $7,000 dollars.

Council will vote on the wage issues at its next meeting Dec. 10.

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