CALEXICO — The 145 or so Calexico city employees will see a four-percent cost-of-living-adjustment pay increase by July 1, including a two-percent pay hike to start March 1, city officials announced late on Feb. 27.
“I’m very pleased because
the city employees have made tremendous sacrifices with salary cuts and going
with no pay (at times) to go the extra mile to get us economically sound
again,” Calexico Mayor Bill Hodge said.
Hodge described the
raises as a gesture of “good will” meant to “keep the morale up.”
While the city still must
focus on rebuilding its reserves, or rainy-day funds, the mayor added “we felt,
among the city council, that the employees deserved at least a COLA (cost of
living adjustment) raise.”
Calexico City Manager
David Dale made the initial announcement following a series of meetings with
the unions representing city employees, during which all the bargaining units
agreed to the raises in principle.
“I’m very pleased that we
were able to give these resources back to our city employees. I wish we could
do more,” Dale said.
He added it was the city
employees who agreed to the previous cuts that helped restore the city to firm
An initial two-percent
raise will go into effect March 1 and another two percent will go into effect
July 1, which is the start of the 2020-21 fiscal year.
At the end of the current
fiscal year, June 30, city officials expect to see the first general fund surplus
— more than $900,000 — since 2014, officials have previously reported.
In 2016, the city was
$4.5 million in the red and had to borrow from its water enterprise funds and
negotiate pay cuts and benefits reductions from city unions to avoid bankruptcy.
The workforce, through layoffs and attrition over the years, has dwindled to
around 145, about half of what the city employed just a decade ago.
Dale said the first part
of the raises will cost the city around $62,800 through June 30. The additional
two percent will cost $188,500 for fiscal 2020-2021.
Calexico City Council
members unanimously approved the two-part pay increase during closed session at
its Feb. 19 meeting. Dale said it could not be announced until every bargaining
unit approved it.
“We’re very happy, what
can I say? It’s been a long time coming,” said Lorena Minor, president of the
Calexico Municipal Employees Association, which represents 45 city workers.
“As far as I can remember,
it’s been 13 years since a cost-of-living-adjustment. I want to thank the city council,”
Minor said after work Feb. 27. “Things are looking better for the employees of
the city of Calexico.”