City of Hermiston Employees to Forgo Annual Cost-of-Living Increases

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The Hermiston Budget Committee approved the proposed 2020-2021 budgets for both the city and Hermiston Urban Renewal Agency on Thursday, sending them to the Hermiston City Council for adoption in June.

To prepare for potential revenue shortfalls later in the year, City Manager Byron Smith told the committee he had spoken with department heads and the Hermiston Police union about forgoing the annual cost-of-living increases across all departments. The cost of living increases are budgeted at $275,000 and usually would begin on July 1.

“I think that’s respectful of our community and the tragedies they’re going through right now, that we shouldn’t be giving pay raises when people are unemployed and businesses are shuttered,” said Mayor Dave Drotzmann, who serves on the budget committee. “I appreciate our employees being willing to let us reconsider that offer.”

The pay increases will remain in the budget as a line item and may be granted in January 2021 if revenue comes in as previously expected.

The budget funds city departments and projects between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021 and the Hermiston Urban Renewal Agency budget cover projects and programs in downtown Hermiston through increased assessed value of properties within the Urban Renewal District.

A full video of the Budget Committee Meeting can be viewed on YouTube.  City budgets can be found on the city’s website.

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