Grand Junction eyes pay hikes to match market rates

Kelly Sloan

Kelly Sloan, The Business Times

Some city employees could receive higher wages under efforts to bring Grand Junction in line with the pay scales of other municipalities and the general labor market, city officials say.

The raises — labeled “market rate adjustments” — come in the wake of a salary survey that compared the wages paid to Grand Junction city employees to those paid by other municipal governments and the larger labor market.

The adjustments will apply to employees whose pay is significantly below market rates, including firefighters and police officers.

Employees with the biggest differences could see a 1.5 percent wage increase.

City officials say that the total cost of the increases will be between $600,000 and $700,000.

While the rate adjustment will bring employees whose current pay is significantly lower than market averages closer to those averages, the rates of those whose current pay is significantly above the market averages won’t change.

Meanwhile, concerns have been raised the city’s labor costs are growing while tax revenues are decreasing.

The ratio of labor costs — which include wages, benefits, workers’ compensation and other expenses — has been rising in relation to the general fund since at least 2009. About 67 percent of the city budget currently is allocated to labor costs, officials say.