TEXAS CITY — College of the Mainland trustees approved pay raises for employees, but stopped short of approving the college’s 2015 budget.
In a split vote at Thursday’s board meeting, trustees approved an across-the-board 4 percent raise that would only go to employees hired before Feb. 28 and still with the college as of July 24. Anyone who retired, was fired or otherwise left the college before that date would not get the lump sum payment approved by the board.
The pay increase would be applied retroactively for the fiscal 2014 budget year, which means employees will see a large paycheck in August.
The college said 317 employees will receive the pay increase. But the 11 employees who retired and the 13 employees who left or were let go between September and July 24 will not receive the pay increase, the college said.
The increase will cost the college about $706,000. The majority of the money was set aside a year ago by the trustees to be used on a raise pending a salary study.
Board Chairman Roney McCrary and Trustees Wayne Miles, Rosalie Kettler and Rachel Delgado voted for a pay increase limited to current employees. Trustees Nick Stepchinski, Bennie Matthews and Ralph Holm voted against it. All three had argued previously they wanted the pay increase to apply to all employees at the college during the past year.
Stepchinski argued the trustees had a moral obligation to give that raise to all employees at the college at the time the trustees approved setting the money aside last year.
“In our opinion, it was basically withheld from their salaries at that time,” he said.
But Miles argued that only those still with the college should get the raise, and his motion passed by the narrow one-vote margin.
Trustees unanimously approved spending up to about $400,000 for a pay-scale increase for employees to bring them closer to market levels.
Those pay increases will take effect in September. The college will need to look at each employee separately to determine the increase needed at each position. Angela Dampeer, human resources executive director, said some employees could get a pay increase of up to about 2.5 percent, while others could get a smaller increase.
The college’s law enforcement officers will see the larger increases than other employees at the college. The officers’ salaries are as much as 18 percent below market value, President Beth Lewis said.
With the action taken by the board, the officers will see a 16 percent lump-sum pay increase in August then another 2 percent increase from the salary adjustment in September, she said.
Trustees also discussed the possibility of laying off up to nine employees in an effort to reduce the budget. The discussion went on behind closed doors, but trustees took no action when they returned to open session.
While the board was able to hammer out employee pay increases at the Thursday workshop, they were not yet ready to approve the entire budget.
The board has asked for cuts, and the administration has proposed a budget that is smaller than the current spending plan — the proposed 2015 budget is about $500,000 smaller than the 2014 budget.
The trustees, who have until the end of August to approve the budget, will meet at a regularly scheduled meeting Monday during which they could discuss and approve the budget.
But trustees need to figure out what to do with all the extra revenue that is still coming in.
The college’s 2015 spending plan is about $32.3 million. Revenue for fiscal year 2015 is estimated to be about $33.5 million.
The college could either cut back in the revenue it is taking in or possibly put that extra revenue in a designated fund for a specific purpose, said Lisa Templer, vice president for college and financial services.
Keeping at least some of that money handy for repairs might be the most prudent thing to do, Templer told the trustees.
“You are going to have to use it on projects,” she said.
“Your history has demonstrated that.”
The college, unable to have a bond approved by voters in the past, has had to use money it has saved in the past for major repairs, she said.
The trustees could also look into reducing taxes in the district, but McCrary said he believed much of the excess revenue would need to be saved.
“At least the majority will go into fund balance because of the renovations that need to be made,” he said.
Contact reporter Christopher Smith Gonzalez at 409-683-5314 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
At a Glance
WHAT: College of the Mainland approved a 4 percent across the board raise for current employees and a separate up to 2.5 percent pay scale increase for current employees.
WHO GETS THE 4 PERCENT RAISE?: That across the board raise only goes to employees hired before Feb. 28 and still with the college as of July 24. Anyone who retired, was fired or otherwise left the college before July 24 will not get the lump sum payment approved by the board.
MORE BUDGET TALKS: The board will meet at 12:30 p.m. Monday in a regular meeting where they could discuss or approve the college’s budget.
WHERE: Appomattox Meeting Room, 1501 North Amburn Road, Suite 4
By the Numbers:
FISCAL YEAR 2015 PROPOSED BUDGET: $32,281,565
FISCAL YEAR 2015 REVENUES: 33,500,564
FISCAL YEAR 2014 ADOPTED BUDGET: $32,820,721