Palo Alto city employees to reap a boat load of money on taxpayers sponsored cruiseliner

Financial life preserverPalo Alto would spend $10 million more on salaries and benefits in the coming fiscal year then it did the year before if a new budget proposed last night is approved by city council.

Among other things, the 500-page budget proposes a 7% increase in employees compensation for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

The budget proposes spending $150.3 million on those expenses from July to June 2015. In the current fiscal year, which ends in June, the city will spend $140 on those same employees. In the previous year, the city spent $134.5 million.

Other than a few brief questions, council members didn’t have much to say about the budget, in large part because they received the massive binders during their meeting and had only a few minutes to prepare questions. But the the council will review the budget and vote to approve it in the coming weeks.

Contact negotiations

Last month, City Council approved raises for the city’s 582 SEIU employees ranging between 4.5% and 14.3%.

The next largest employee group, with 213 members, is the cities managers and professionals. The city also employs 99 firefighters, 83 police officers, 46 utility department managers, seven police department managers and five fire department managers.

The police and fire unions are in the midst of negotiating new contracts. Police managers would make the most on average of all city employees, with $179,136 in salaries next year, not including benefits.

Utility department management professionals would make the second most, on average, netting $133,139 without benefits. The SEIU employees would make the least netting $70,659 without benefits, according to the proposed budget.

Thousands in overtime

For overtime work, police and firefighters would make the most. On average, each firefighter will take home $14,388 annually in OT while police officers would get an average of $13,815 annually.

The city budget shows taxpayers are going to spend a lot of money contributing to the pensions of city workers. Police and fire pension contributions are the highest on a per-employee basis.

The city’s pension contribution for police managers will be $59,903 on average, according to the proposed budget. Police officers pensions are the next most expensive, costing $42,688 each, followed by firefighters pensions at an annual average cost of $42,289, and fire chiefs pensions at $41,828.

Firefighters and police officers would also cost the most in worker’s compensation, between $12,146 and $12,887 each on average. The same is true of medical benefits.

Medical benefits for police managers would cost the city $19,992 each next year while medical benefits for firefighters and police officers trail close behind at second $18,500 for each employee.

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