Before negotiations have even been completed City Councilman Sal DiCiccio is warning of employee pay raises on the horizon.

DiCiccio said after asking for the numbers he has been told by Phoenix’s Budget and Research Department that next year’s budget will include $106.6 million, or an average of $7,300 per employee, in pay raises over the next two years.

The pay raises come from restoring 1.5 percent of the 3.2 percent pay decrease employees took previously in 2010, merit step increases and longevity pay. These numbers will be included in the proposed budget for 2012-13 and 2013-14, and will go through public hearings and council approval before being final.

DiCiccio believes any pay raises should not be considered until the food tax is taken away and services are restored.

“Before even contemplating a pay raise the first thing on your list should be the public,” DiCiccio said. “It’s problematic when you’re charging an extra tax while giving yourself a pay raise. You should restore all the services before we pay ourselves anything. We need to make sure the public we are paid by are taken care of first. That’s not an unusual request.”

DiCiccio did admit he believes Phoenix police officers are underpaid, but said even those employees should not be given a pay increase until services are restored to the public.

The public will have a chance to look over the budget and comment on the budget as a whole during public hearings. There will be a public meeting at Pecos Community Center, 17010 S. 48th St., on Monday, April 9. An employee compensation briefing will begin at 5 p.m. with the budget hearing starting at 6 p.m. An online meeting will be on Thursday, April 19 at 7 p.m. through Facebook.com/cityofphoenix, Twitter #PhoenixBudget and through email at contactus@phoenix.gov.

After two years of budget deficits the city is not projecting a deficit for 2012-13, and is actually anticipating a slight surplus that would make it possible to expand some city services like library and pool hours. For more information on the budget process and to review the entire budget, visit phoenix.gov/budget.

•Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com

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