Proposed pay raise for city workers heads to public hearing next week

Kodiak’s city workforce may be getting pay raises that officials say would keep wages apace of the rising cost of living. City Council will be holding a public hearing next week over the proposed 12% wage hike, which would cost the city over $1.1 million through the fiscal year.

The city of Kodiak has been studying its compensation compared to a dozen other Alaska communities. It found that while it’s invested in comprehensive benefits packages wages have fallen behind. A study commissioned last year found that Kodiak also had one of the highest costs of living compared to other cities including Sitka, Homer and Kenai. 

Kodiak Mayor Pat Branson said the city’s relatively low wages makes it hard to keep its best people. 

“What kind of culture do we want to have with people working for the city and to continue the vital services that we provide to residents?” she said of the proposal.

The study also found that Kodiak has some of the lowest paid professional firefighters statewide. 

The city currently has eight vacancies listed on its human resources page – including one for an entry level firefighting position starting at about $15.54 an hour. That’s $2 an hour less than the next lowest paying peer community in the wage study. And it was posted over a month ago. Branson said the issue has wider implications for the whole community.

“Are we keeping people here in the community working? Are their families here? Are there people wanting to come here for work? Because all of that money – the wages – trickle down to our local economy. Are they buying groceries? Are they paying property taxes? Are they paying rent?”

The issue now heads to a public hearing. Branson said Council has discussed raising wages for city workers for several years, and that if the ordinance is passed, Council still has an obligation to pass a balanced budget. Council will debate the issue and hear public comments during its February 10 meeting.

Check Also

Voters cast their ballots in the 2022 primary election in Anchorage on Aug. 16, 2022. (Matt Faubion/Alaska Public Media)

Midday Report – April 12, 2024

On today’s Midday Report with host Terry Haines: Alaska has the highest proportion of independent …

%d bloggers like this: