Leesburg city commissioners this week received a briefing on proposed salary and wage increases for fiscal year 2024 by City Manager Al Minner.
The commissioners had asked staff to conduct a salary survey to ensure that city employees wages are at a competitive level with other nearby cities. The city has had some difficulty in filling job openings for needed services including the police and fire departments.
The result of the survey showed many deficiencies associated with entry level wages below $15 per hour; police entry level wages below $60,000 annually, firefighter wages slightly below the average and compression issues associated with raising the minimum wage to $15 which will become the mandated federal minimum wage in fiscal year 2025.
The proposal calls for the city to re-establish pay grades from levels 112-142, whereby pay grade 112 begins at $15 per hour. The bottom of each pay grade from 113-142, then increases by 4 percent. All general employees shall earn the starting pay for their given grade and receive a longevity bonus of 1 percent for each year of service in their current position. If the formulaic approach is less than a 5 percent wage increase, then, the employee shall receive a 5 percent wage increase. The proposed 2024 pay scale is at this link: Leesburg 2024 pay proposal
The proposal Minner laid out will significantly increase wages for Leesburg employees. He also stressed that the growth of the city will require more public safety employees including increasing the police department to 90 officers. Minner indicated that the increased costs for the pay increases and additional staff could be paid for as the taxes on the new homes being built by The Villages becomes available in 2025. He noted that it maybe necessary to increase the fire assessment fee from the present rate of $87 to $165 next fiscal year. While this would be a 90 percent increase in the fire assessment fee Leesburg would still be on the lower end of the range paid by neighboring cities as set forth in this exhibit he included with his proposal.
This proposal will be considered at a June commission meeting.