NORWICH – The City of Norwich Common Council held a public hearing for the 2019 budget at a special meeting Tuesday night before setting the vote for Tuesday, December 11.
Norwich resident Patrick McNeil was the sole member of the public to speak at the hearing. McNeil said, "Things look good, I think it's actually pretty darn tight. 0.48 percent increase is virtually nothing. That particular number scares me a little bit and one of the particular reasons for that is we know costs go up."
He warned the city against underestimating its expenditures and overestimating its revenues. City of Norwich Mayor Christine Carnrike said that McNeil's words would be taken to heart as they try to operate the city as efficiently and effectively as possible.
A joint committees meeting immediately followed the budget hearing, when city aldermen deliberated the budget and agreed the final portion to iron out is adjusting the city's non-unit employee compensation schedule.
Alderman Ward 1 Matthew Caldwell said he would not support the current compensation schedule included in the budget, which includes 80 different rates of pay across 28 grades. He said only nine positions are paid from the current schedule and it is cumbersome and does not provide the council with enough flexibility to offer competitive rates of pay in its current form.
Caldwell mentioned a scenario where the city made an offer to appoint an individual which was met with a counter offer from the prospective employee. Because of the current compensation schedule, Caldwell said, the city had to make another offer that was even higher than the individual's counter offer in order to fall in line with the schedule.
Caldwell proposed an alternative compensation schedule, which reduces 80 pay rates down to 21 pay rates, as well as offering more flexibility to the common council in deciding pay grades...