Each year, at their annual retreat, Asheville City Council identifies priorities for the upcoming fiscal year. These priorities are used not only to shape the budget for the next fiscal year, but to provide direction throughout the year to staff designing work plans aligned with those priorities.
As the City of Asheville holds work sessions to determine the fiscal year 2022-2023 budget, it’s a good time to pause, look back and assess the work and accomplishments of the past year.
Council Identified Priorities for Fiscal Year 2021-2022
- Employee Compensation
- Utilization of ARPA Funding
- Reimaging Public Safety
Let’s take a moment to explore the work undertaken to address the priority of Employee Compensation.
A Total Compensation Study was undertaken in 2020, revealing that a competitive and fair compensation package is one of the elements at the center of employee satisfaction. At the time, the City salary structure was not competitive, coming in up to 10% below market rates for similar positions . This left the City of Asheville at a disadvantage when it came to attracting and maintaining a strong work force.
For the fiscal year 2021-2022 budget, 7.9 million dollars in funding were designated to implement pay increases. This investment makes Asheville more competitive in the current market, for Asheville Fire, Police and civilian positions across the City.
- 16% average increase for Fire personnel
- Starting pay for firefighters increased 30%
- 13% average increase for Police personnel
- Starting pay for Police Officers increased 19%
- 8 weeks paid parental leave
- 6 weeks paid leave for care of a qualified family member with a serious health condition
- 2 new paid holidays (Juneteenth, Veterans Day)
- Maintain employee contributions and employer contributions to the City’s healthcare program at the same level for the fourth consecutive year
As these improvements were put in place, the City also committed to an ongoing analysis and review of compensation issues and other compensation matters by Finance and the City Manager’s Office. Lastly, a renewed focus on hiring for key vacancies across the organization became a top priority as it was recognized as necessary to ensure support to leadership and provide continuity of operations.
With these improvements in place, the City of Asheville believes it is in an improved position to meet the needs of our community with a strong and motivated City workforce.