Columbiana approves COLAs for employees

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 22, 2005

In a recent special meeting, the Columbiana City Council approved a 3.5 percent cost-of-living (COLA) increase for full-time employees.

The increase was approved on Friday, March 4 in the absence of councilmembers Tom Seale and Tim Billingsley.

According to Seale, the cost of living increase will result in an annual increase in payroll expenses for the city of $37,000.

Mayor Allan Lowe said the increase was passed at a special meeting because the city did not pass its budget until February.

He said city officials wanted to get the increase into effect before the next pay period, which began Saturday, March 5.

On Feb. 1, the council approved a fiscal year 2005 budget of more than $3 million and a capital expense budget of $834,000.

The general budget included revenues and expenses of $3,155,118.

On Feb. 15, the council adjusted the salaries of 21 city employees who were not previously included in the city’s grade and step pay scale adding $6,000 annually to the city’s payroll expenses.

The COLA for city employees was not approved along with the budget because city officials were not sure revenue would be available, Lowe said.

&uot;At that time we did not know we would have the money for it,&uot; he said.

However, he said sales tax revenues for the preceding five months came in higher than expected.

&uot;Department heads showed initiative&uot; and as team players, he said, &uot;cut what they could live without&uot; to make the COLA possible