The Brooksville City Council adopted an employee compensation plan which calls for salary increases for 64 employees to bring their salaries in line with surrounding cities and municipalities.
The city’s HR Administrator Kimberly Price completed an employee compensation study as the basis of the plan in efforts to “reduce turnover costs and promote growth.”
Price conducted a five phase review including a comprehensive review of job descriptions and positions, and employee interviews.
She found that on average, COB salaries were 12% under market. Through employee interviews, Price determined that 87% of employees felt confident in city leadership, 55% said they would not change anything about their job, and 92% felt they were underpaid for the work they do.
The city has a 4 to 8% turnover rate.
64 employees were found to be compensated below market salary. In order to bring salaries in line with market expectations, the cost to the city is $384,078.70 including fringe benefit costs.
Other recommendations include:
“All Promotions/Demotions need salary review through HR and approval of City Manager; Demotions should be no more than 10% unless more than (2) pay grades.; All New Hires should be hired at bottom of current range (up to 20% can be approved by City Manager)”
Price explained that departments with the most turnover include sanitation and utilities because of the nature of the job. She said that it’s common to lose employees to the county since they pay more ($1.50-$2.00).
A city resident questioned what the salary increase would cost the taxpayers per year.
The $384,078.70 including fringe costs will be used to recalibrate the salaries for the current fiscal year. “The budgets will have to account for that new salary,” said Price. She explained that currently they have prepared for the additional costs for this year.
The increase will be funded through combined Utilities Revenue/General Funding Reserves. However, an exact figure on how much additional funding will be needed for the next fiscal year was not available.
“We will have that come budget time,” said Mayor Pat Brayton.
As far as cost of living increases and merit raises, those are not typically implemented until a year after the plan has begun, Price explained.
City resident Michael Burrman pointed out that the salary figures provided in Price’s presentation was only salary and did not include benefits, which could make a big impact.
To that, Price explained that the city benefits are not ideal at the moment. Family medical insurance costs over $1000 per month. “We have great benefits in some ways, but most of our employees are single coverage.” She said she is currently working with the city’s broker to reduce employee expenses for family medical coverage for October enrollment.
Price also explained that there are a significant number of employees who have been with the city for 20-30 years who went years without a salary increase. “You have a lot of employees who haven’t been compensated fairly for many years.”
Mayor Brayton strongly stated that he’d like to make the compensation plan effective July 1.
Council member Bailey remarked, “They have been underpaid for years, it’s time for them to get ahead.”
The compensation plan was approved 4-0. Council member Battista recused himself as his wife is a city employee.
Property Appraiser Good Faith Estimate
Kevin Johnston of the Hernando County Property Appraiser’s Office said that this year’s total taxable value for the city of Brooksville is approximately $490 million which does not include around $12 million in new construction. This is up about $40 million from the previous year. They are still processing income statements from commercial properties.
Legislature Funds City of Brooksville Water and Sewer Projects
Three of the city of Brooksville’s projects that went before the legislature this past session made it into the state budget. The only project that was vetoed was the Emergency Operations Center. The three that were funded include:
- Sewer Rehab Phase 4 $360,000
- Stormwater Quality Improvements $387,500
- Lamar Water Drinking Plant $175,000
“A total of over $900,000. These are three very important projects for us,” said City Manager Kutney on June 8.
Senate Bill 60
Kutney briefly updated council on a new law municipalities will have to follow.
SB 60 prohibits cities and counties from investigating potential code violations if they are reported anonymously.
HCSO Level of Service
During the June 8, 2021 city council meeting, city manager Mark Kutney said that he did not agree with comments from residents at the last city council meeting regarding the Sheriff’s Office level of service to the city.
“Lt. David Lewis, our commander, provided me with a bunch of statistics showing me what Hernando County Sheriff’s Office has been doing,” said Kutney.
Kutney asked Lewis to give a presentation to the city council on these statistics.
Lewis provided statistics on calls for service and self initiated activity (traffic stops, security checks, etc) within the city.
2020 Calls for Service
Below are statistics for several calls for service categories. There are 77 calls for service categories.
911 hang-ups 1165
264 regular traffic crashes
95 crashes with injuries
360 commercial alarms
474 verbal disturbances
55 missing juveniles
243 reckless drivers
233 suspicious incidents
376 suspicious persons
9285 Total Calls for Service
2020 Self Initiated Activity
3010 traffic stops (⅓ are city designated units, ⅔ are units outside the city that are performing traffic stops within city limits)
4255 neighborhood contacts
17137 security checks (includes businesses and residential areas). If there is a problem in a certain area they will add a security check to that area to beef up enforcement.
1693 traffic enforcement
30,888 total Self Initiated Activities
First Quarter 2021 Traffic Crashes
Accident – 76
Accident with injury- 27
(Crashes investigated by HCSO, crashes investigated by FHP not available)
2019 to 2020 Core Crime
The system that has been used for several years to track crime is called the Unified Crime Report. Beginning Jan 2021, Florida began using a new reporting system called FIBRS Florida Incident Based Reporting System.
“We’re still kind of working out some of those numbers. We’ll see some number fluctuations as we move forward,” said Lewis.
In 2019 there were 273 Core Crimes total. In 2020 there were 203. A 25.64% decrease.
There was a slight uptick in criminal mischief from 46 in 2019 to 50 in 2020. An 8.7% increase.
The overall combination of criminal mischief and core crimes decreased from 319 in 2019 to 253 in 2020. A 20.69% decrease overall.
In comparing Jan – April 2020 to Jan-April 2021,
2020: 70 core crimes
2021: 46 core crimes
2020: 14 criminal mischief
2021: 11 criminal mischief
Case closure rate:
2017 National Average Closure Rate: 31.6%
(Updated by FBI)