SHEFFIELD, Ala. (WAFF) - The City of Sheffield’s approved 2021 budget of $9.7 million includes a 4 percent employee pay raise, which is the largest in more than a decade, according to Mayor Steve Stanley. Read more on The Times Daily.
The raise will cost the city about $170,000 per year, according to Stanley.
“Our employees don’t get paid like they do in Muscle Shoals and Florence, so we’re just trying to catch up as best as we can, and this is a step in the right direction,” Stanley said.
Stanley said the budgeting process took longer than usual with a new mayor, city clerk and new city council.
He explained a year-end surplus of $247,000 and a reduction in expenses of $280,000 contributed to a good working budget.
“We based the budget on the previous six years, and were able to make adjustments and factor in the best raise our employees have had in at least the last 12 years I served on the council,” Stanley said.
The only employee promotion was the city’s Oakwood Cemetery foreman named to Sexton.
The longtime city employee said he appreciated the opportunity, and was just happy to see a raise for all the employees.
“I wasn’t expecting a raise, especially during a pandemic, so it’s very much appreciated,” Danny Crosswhite said. “This is a great place to live, and Mayor Stanley has been fair and equal, and I believe we’ll prosper.”
The big question in the first quarter of 2020 was what impact COVID-19 would have on the budget. Stanley said revenues were up as sales taxes increased steadily, continuing a trend in place for the the past six years in Sheffield.
In 2015, sales tax revenues were $2.4 million, but last year were nearly $3.1 million.
“We did better than we’d imagined early on when the pandemic first hit,” Stanley said. “The goal is to eventually pay competitive salaries, and I won’t lose sight of that.”
With the Inspiration Landing project on track, city officials are still planning to close in March the $3.1 million construction loan for the road leading to the project.
Land has been cleared for the first restaurant to be built at Inspiration Landing, and Stanley said the revenues generated from businesses there will be key in paying back the loans.