City of Bainbridge employees may get cost-of-living raises

City of Bainbridge employees may get a two-percent cost-of-living raise next year as part of the city’s 2015-2016 budget, City Manager Chris Hobby told the Bainbridge City Council Tuesday night.

Hobby said it has been three years since the city’s employees were given raises. During the same time, national inflation has increased by about 1.8 percent. Therefore, Hobby said he felt it was time to give the employees a raise.

The City of Bainbridge currently has 141 employees.

Hobby said the money for the raises would come from a projected surplus for the city’s next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.

The city’s share of sales tax receipts, which make up the major portion of the City of Bainbridge’s revenue, went up in 2014-2015, after taking a big hit in 2013 due to tax changes passed by the Georgia Legislature, according to Hobby.

However, the city manager is predicting sales tax revenue will see little to no growth next year. Instead, the City of Bainbridge will rely partly on a surplus built up by property tax, as well as savings it continues to realize in its self-funded health care plan.

City Councilman Luther Conyers asked Hobby what led to the “turnaround” in the city’s finances over the previous fiscal year. Hobby said the #1 factor was the two-mill property tax increase that the City Council approved in Fall 2014. The city manager said that was the #1 source of new revenue for the city, although there has been small growth in other revenue sources, such as the franchise fee Georgia Power pays to the City of Bainbridge.

Decatur County commissioners will hold their first public hearing on their 2015-2016 budget on Tuesday, August 11 at 8:30 a.m. County commissioners are expected to increase property tax rates for both City of Bainbridge residents and resideents of unincorporated areas in Decatur County.

The City of Bainbridge, which is not proposing a property tax increase for next year, will hold hearings on its 2015-2016 budget in September.

New Decatur County Administrator Alan Thomas and County Commissioner Pete Stephens were in attendance at Tuesday night’s Bainbridge City Council meeting, and were recognized by Bainbridge Mayor Edward Reynolds.

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