Town employee raises included in proposed Farmville budget

Published 9:26 pm Thursday, March 16, 2023

FARMVILLE – In order to keep employees and be competitive with other areas, the Town of Farmville needs to provide raises in this upcoming year’s budget. That was the presentation Town Manager Dr. Scott Davis gave during the Wednesday, March 8 meeting of the Farmville Town Council 

Davis stressed that all full-time and part-time employees of the town needed to be included in this pay bump. To be clear, this is just the first introduction of the budget. There will still be several work sessions and votes by council before anything is finalized.  

Davis pointed out the nation is at a 30-year high of inflation and a recession is possibly on horizon by the end of the calendar year. As a result, town employees need some extra help to cover costs. 

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“We will be raising the wages of employees in lower pay-grades,” he said. “And providing them with the tools they need in gradually upgrading our equipment for them.”

The proposed budget would provide a raise to all full-time employees of $5,000, while part-time employees would receive a $2/hour salary increase. 

This is the second straight year the town has tried to include some support for employees. Davis told The Herald afterward this made the most sense as a way to help all employees.

“It does continue to help in being market competitive and helping compression issues,” he said. 

Farmville makes some changes

As discussed in the council’s last meeting, there has not been an increase in health insurance costs. Davis said the city is reclassifying some positions in the compensation and classification plan.

“It doesn’t result in any major change in the budget but allows them to have the ability to help continue with that compression, and certain employees could have the ability to earn higher wages at the end of their career, if they stay in that,” Davis said. 

Last year’s budget also started the process of implementing a combination fire department to eventually create a fully-paid department with volunteers. The effort was to make the department volunteer-driven but still have positions such as a full-time chief and fire attendants, to be paid the same hiring salary as a police officer. This year, Davis said, a key expense in the general fund is to add an additional firefighter position to make the department a true combination fire department. 

“We are providing upgrades in equipment and new capital assets to the organization,” he said. 

And with that, comes new equipment for other agencies: they plan to purchase five new police cars and a new leaf truck.

Davis said the city received additional good news last week that the Commonwealth of Virginia received federal funds they’re going to pass on to law enforcement agencies and it has to be used for equipment. 

“That’s in addition to everything I discussed,” he added. 

By the numbers

The proposed Farmville budget has a general fund just north of $14 million, a street maintenance fund of $1.8 million, a water fund of $3.8 million, a sewer fund of $2.7 million, a transportation fund of $1.1 million and an airport fund of $1.2 million, totaling $25.2 million.

On the subtraction side, this proposed budget would include $15,000 toward the Prince Edward Rescue Squad’s executive director salary, instead of the $30,000 requested.

Over the last three years, the town gave $30,000 annually to help cover the salary of an executive director, in addition to other funding and support for maintenance and fuel costs. But that salary agreement wasn’t permanent. The idea was for Farmville, along with Longwood University and Hampden-Sydney College, to help get things started and then slowly reduce the amount provided for the director.