Placentia Council Grants Municipal Workers 3.5% Raise
Amid criticism for not lowering the city’s utility tax, the City Council last week approved a 3.5% pay increase for municipal employees.
The one-year agreement will cost the city an additional $175,000 over the next 12 months, which some residents said proves that Placentia can afford to cut the utility tax.
“The utility tax is probably what is supplying this raise,” said resident James Stoddart at Tuesday night’s council session. “It seems to me the return of that 1% should come first.”
In 1993, the city raised the utility tax to 4% from 3%.
It has been three years, however, since most management-level city employees had a pay raise. And the 67 employees represented by the Placentia City Employees Assn. have gone two years without a raise.
For City Administrator Robert D’Amato, the pay raise will be the first in four years. His annual salary will climb to $91,080.
Councilman Norman Z. Eckenrode said the city may consider lowering the utility tax next spring if the economy improves. The tax, which excludes water bills, generates $1.8 million in annual revenue for the city’s $14.7-million operating budget.
“Our main problem is that we don’t really have large retail businesses generating significant amounts of tax dollars,” Eckenrode said. “The average citizen is more concerned about cuts in city services than lowering the utility tax.”