Dunwoody city officials seem willing to include money in the 2014 city budget to provide city employees with merit raises of up to about 3.1 percent of their pay. City Council members Oct. 10 debated the percentage the city should allocate, and seemed to find agreement at about 3 to 3.1 percent.

At times, the council’s discussion sounded like an auction as councilors called out percentages each would endorse. “I feel like we’re bidding,” Councilwoman Adrian Bonser said.

Mayor Mike Davis and City Manager Warren Hutmacher’s proposed 2014 budget recommended merit raises reaching as much as 4 percent, city Finance Director Chris Pike told the council members, but council members proposed lower amounts.

“When I saw 4 percent coming out, I just couldn’t believe it,” Councilman Denis Shortal said.

Shortal said federal employees’ pay is expected to go up by 1.4 percent and Social Security payments are scheduled to rise by 1.5 percent.

“We have to be fair to our employees, but we have to be fair to our taxpayers as well,” he said.

The council budget committee had recommended merit raises of up to 3.1 percent to 3.5 percent, Pike said.

Councilman Terry Nall, a member of the budget committee, said the committee recommended 3.1 percent to 3.5 percent after reviewing surveys of raises expected in businesses.

“We’ve had a record of being competitive with the corporate world,” he said. “I think at 3.1, we remain competitive with the corporate world.”

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.