PF finalizes 2022-23 budget | News

PIGEON FORGE — The city commission voted to approve final reading of the 2022-23 budget Monday, including an 8% across-the-board raise and an increase of starting wages to $15 per hour.

Commissioners had already included the 8% raise in its initial budget projections for the upcoming fiscal year.

The change to the minimum hourly rates is another adjustment to the competitive job market in East Tennessee. It will affect new hires as well as employees who were already working but were under $15 or slightly above it.

“That’s not just starting pay, that’s also taking into consideration existing employees that are around that level,” Mayor David Wear said.

Employees who had been with the city for a few years and just reached that point would get a bump in pay as well, so they won’t be paid at the same level as new hires, Wear said.

The new pay increase will cost an additional $95,000, which will be recovered using a built-in fund balance.

The $117-million budget won’t result in a tax increase.

While the fiscal year ending this month has been a banner year, the city is calling for lower revenues in the 2022-23 budget.

Their projections called for a 3% drop in revenues over this year, but that should still leave city offices with enough money to cover their expenses and fund the increase in pay.

The budget doesn’t call for groundbreaking on any new projects, but it does include more funds for a new public safety building that will eventually house the police and fire departments.

“It’s a little bit conservative but it’s good in light of what’s going on in the world,” Wear said.

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