The Frankfort City Commission approved a 0.5% salary increase for city employees during a special meeting on Friday, despite projecting a $3 million loss in revenue.
The commission decided to implement the half-a-percent raise for every city employee beginning July 1, which is the start of a new fiscal year. Commissioner Eric Whisman was the lone dissenter.
Earlier in the meeting, Whisman expressed concerns about the city’s financial standing due to COVID-19 and said he’d prefer to delay action on raises until the end of July. The end of July is when the City of Frankfort will know how much occupational tax revenue was lost due to COVID-19.
City Manager Keith Parker expects it to be a $3 million loss for the 2020-21 fiscal year. Before the pandemic, the city’s occupational and insurance license revenue was projected to be $24.1 million, which is the same as the current fiscal year. Now, the projections have dropped close to $21 million.
At the end of July, the city will receive its occupational tax and insurance tax revenue for April through June, Parker said on Friday. Those months were in the "heart of the pandemic" and he expects the city to see its highest loss in revenue from that quarter.
As for the current fiscal year, all revenue expectations were met.
In April, Parker said that 59% of the city’s revenue comes directly from wage taxes and that state government is the largest contributor.
On Friday, Parker said 32% of the state’s workforce that was working in Frankfort on March 1 is now working outside of Frankfort due to many state employees working from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The city commission said it will consider giving city employees an additional raise later in the year once the city has a better understanding of COVID-19’s impact toward the end of July.
Although Friday’s video conference special meeting was plagued with technical issues, the city commission was ready to have a first reading on the proposed $35 million 2020-21 fiscal year budget. Last year, the city commission approved a $34 million budget.
On Monday, Parker said a first reading of the proposed 2020-21 fiscal year budget ordinance will happen sometime this week during a special meeting, with a second reading scheduled for next Monday's meeting.