Hallock City Council stalled in a decision Monday, Dec. 5, on the amount of the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) to give employees in 2023.
At a regular meeting, city clerk/administrator Aimee Sugden shared that COLA has increased in recent years, on top of rising health insurance costs and inflation rates. Health insurance alone, she said, has risen by $40 per employee salary, and inflation is still above her 7%. She submitted a council sheet that broke down the increases by percentage and amount.
Councilor Kevin Waller said he feels COLA increases are in percentage terms and are usually given in dollar amounts as pay raises. Sugden said the $1 amount would even out the pay scale between high-end and low-end employees at the step system.
“The current percentages are inflating a lot faster when they’re at the top of the pay scale than when you’re at the bottom end of the pay scale,” Sugden said. In terms of money, everyone will get 50 cents per hour versus the percentage where one person gets 70 cents per hour and another gets 1.70 cents per hour.The top end is higher, so the back end is a little bit go up.”
For 2022, the City Council has approved a 3.5% COLA, adjusting health insurance to be 30% employee-funded and 70% city-funded.
Sugden said she and the budget committee worked to increase COLA by 10% in the 2023 budget.
Read the rest of the story in the December 14, 2022 edition of Kittson County Enterprise.