Buffalo Grove officials began discussions about next year’s budget and payroll practices last week after reviewing preliminary tax levy figures and a recommendation from staff to grant non-union employees 2 percent raises effective January 2013.
The village is working to create a system that will give pay increases based on both longevity and merit, according to a memo from Human Resources Director Art Malinowski. Until it's finalized, he suggested that non-union employees who have not reached the top of their scale receive 2 percent increases.
Trustee Jeff Berman said he'd prefer raises to be based on performance, something he said he has long advocated.
Trustee Mike Terson agreed, saying that department managers could distribute portions of the 2 percent payroll increase to staff members based on their performance.
“I’m not opposed to that,” said Village Manager Dane Bragg. “We’ve just been a little reluctant to pull the trigger because we haven’t had a lot of money to work with in the first place.”
He said the staff would put together a financial plan for the board’s review.
Trustee Beverly Sussman said that all village employees should be held to high standards. “The problem I have with merit pay is, don’t say, ‘If you do the job you get 2 percent. If you really do the job, you get 4 percent,’” she said. “People who work for this village should have exceptional performance.
“There’s a great number of people here who are suffering [financially],” Trustee Steve Trilling said. “I just want people to know we’re doing what we can to reward employees, but we’re looking out for taxpayers.”
2012 tax levy
The discussion followed a preliminary overview of the village’s 2012 tax levy, which Finance Director Scott Anderson said will likely increase by 3.5 percent. The increase will generate about $500,000 for the village, he said.
Last year, Buffalo Grove did not raise its levy. Next year, Anderson said, increases will support the corporate fund, but at least three-fourths of the increase will go into the pension fund.
Sussman asked if the village could make up those expenses by cutting costs elsewhere.
Anderson and Bragg said that could be difficult.
“The issue that we’re up against is we have some built in increases that we have no control over,” said Bragg, who specifically mentioned health insurance expenses. “We’re running out of ways to tighten the screws.”
“We’re going to keep it as tight as we can,” he said.