The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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Fulton

April 3, 2014

Budget process moving forward

Residents will have chance to voice opinions

FULTON, Ill. — Fulton residents are encouraged to join the Fulton City Council on Tuesday as members discuss details of the fiscal year 2015 budget during a public hearing at City Hall.

Highlights of the discussion will be whether the council will continue with a preliminary vote that called for a 3 percent salary increase for the city's 21 employees but also required a greater contribution to their insurance benefits.

According to that preliminary vote, council members are asking city employees to increase their spousal insurance contribution by $15 making it a total of $75 per pay period, and adding a flat $15 rate per pay period for medical coverage of their children.

The reason for proposing the insurance contributions, even though the city is projected to save money on this year's insurance premiums, is because of future Social Security and Municipal Retirement payment increases that loom over the city's operating budget.

By approving those increase in insurance contributions, council members felt they needed to offer their employees better compensation to counteract the added expenses.

Instead of offering a 1.7 percent, approximately $24,000, salary increase, which was first introduced to the council, they approved a 3 percent increase adding $6,200 to the projected wage raise.

Residents will be allowed to express their support or opposition of that proposed budget. Whether that will lead to changes or not is unclear to city leaders.

But for Mayor Larry Russell, it is about letting residents speak their minds and being transparent through this whole budget process.

"I hope we get a decent turnout," Mayor Larry Russell said. "The employees got a chance to speak at the last preliminary budget so now it's time for the public to come and speak up."

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