Town budget reflects staffing, salary increases

Town of Coupeville will go into 2017 with a budget reflecting additional employees, benefits and projects.

The $4.46-million budget was approved by the Town Council last week and includes a number of employee benefits, incentives and salary additions.

While employees will get their standard 2 percent cost of living increase, the town will implement “longevity” steps in order to allow “salary recognition” to employees who have a long career with the town, said Mayor Molly Hughes.

For example, steps include a 3 percent raise at seven years, a 2 percent raise at 10 years and so on.

Additional employees and hours have also been included in the new budget.

“The Public Works Department will be adding two full-time positions to help accomplish maintenance and projects outlined in the utility capital project plan,” Hughes said.

Only one seasonal position will be hired, rather than two.

The town will also hire a full-time engineer. Cost for this position is partly coming from the new utility rate increases that went into effect this fall.

The council also approved doubling the Hughes’ salary to $72,000 a year to reflect a full-time mayor position. Eight hours were added to the fiscal clerk position to provide administrative help for the planning department.

Insurance premium costs went up 5 percent, an expense the town covers, and the town also added a secondary insurance provider option for employees.

The 2017 budget reflects anticipated capital projects, including $75,000 set aside for work on Front Street storm water to help mitigate ongoing erosion problems.

“When our engineer is hired he will be asked to prepare a design and construction budget so we can have a better idea of the total cost of this project,” Hughes said.

Funds are also delegated for street work, improvements to the municipal parking lot and construction of a new restroom at the Community Green.

“We have applied for grants to complete this work,” Hughes said. “If we are not successful in our application, these projects will not be completed.”