Columbia gives city employees slight raise

Related Story

COLUMBIA - For the first time in five years, Columbia city employees are getting a raise.

The Columbia City Council approved a 2 percent across-the-board pay increase, which went into effect Monday.

"We reduced three million in general spending and balanced the budget, so this is the first time since the recession started that we can recognize our peoples' hard work," said City Manager Mike Matthes. "Two percent matches inflation, so now we're at least matching the market minimum for pay."

Matthes said, on top of the overall 2 percent bump, there are two other pay increases.

"Move to minimum" increases pay for people like bus drivers to the market minimum offered by private companies. Matthes said that specific upgrade impacts 300-400 employees.

The "move to mid" raises wages for people holding positions for five years or more.

"Currently, a first-year police officer and a fifth-year police officer make the same wage," Matthes said. "But clearly you can expect more from a fifth-year officer because they have more experience. Now we'll be recognizing that loyalty and that commitment to public service."

Columbia resident Anthony Gress said the recession hit him hard, and even a 2 percent raise would help.

"That's only two cents to the dollar, but every little bit helps when rent is going up and groceries are getting expensive," Gress said. "I think it's great the city is giving that little bit to its employees. They work really hard and every little bit counts."

The city of Columbia employees approximately 1,400 people.