Second in an occasional series.
By MARK YOUNG
PALMETTO -- With more than $5 million dedicated to employee salaries, the city of Palmetto's salary budget represents about 20 percent of its estimated $24.1 million overall budget.
The city will kick off its annual series of budget workshops for the 2015-16 fiscal year, from 5-7 p.m. Aug. 4 at city hall.
Current salaries for Palmetto are published on Bradenton.com. The figures do not include the value of vacation and sick time, and the database does not include employees' names.
The majority of Palmetto's salary expenses are related to the Palmetto Police Department, with more than $2.1 million in salaries. Almost $1.4 million represents the core of the department's officers, with nearly $227,000 being paid to the department's three top administrators, including the chief of police and two captains. About $408,000 is dedicated to the department's dispatchers, records clerks, evidence custodian and victim advocate.
The city pays its elected officials a total of $140,017, with each commissioner making $8,193. The mayor, with a substantial raise approved in the last budget cycle, makes $55,000, while $44,053 is dedicated to the executive administrative assistant.
Two employees in the city's clerk's office make a total of $131,013, and $323,221 is dedicated to seven finance employees. Enterprise funds, consisting of employees from public works, stormwater, sewer, water and other associated departments, make up the balance of the salaries with $887,029.
In addition to their salaries, city employees receive a minimum of 96 hours of
paid vacation annually. Employees who have worked for the city between five and 10 years receive 120 hours and employees with more than 10 years receive 144 paid vacation hours.
An employee making $25 an hour with more than 10 years of service essentially receives an additional $3,600 in paid leave. Full-time employees who end their service to the city are eligible to accrue up to 360 hours of vacation they can be paid for when they leave the city. An employee making $25 an hour with a maximum amount of hours accrued, would be paid $9,000 in unused vacation time.
City employees receive an additional 96 hours of sick leave a year and can accrue a maximum of 960 hours. The city offers to buy back up to 480 hours at retirement. An employee making $25 would receive $12,000.
With Palmetto property values rising by 4.9 percent, city clerk Jim Freeman said it will not likely be necessary to raise the millage rate, but until the city commission delves into the budget, it's too early to tell. The city's current millage rate is 5.7171. A mill is $1 per $1,000 of property value. Despite the rise in property values, Freeman said at the current millage rate, it would only generate about $186,000 in additional revenue.
Going into the workshops, he said, "We may present some options as a 'what if' scenario, but my thought is that staff will be diligent to create a budget at the current rate."
The city's overall budget is about $24.1 million, including a $9.8 million general fund.