City of Myrtle Beach employees could see a flat bonus of $800 next fiscal year according to an update to the proposed budget presented to City Council on Tuesday.
The bonuses proposed for employees would total about $789,000, City manager Tom Leath said during a City Council workshop Tuesday morning.
The Council passed the first reading of the proposed $157.8 million budget, and a second reading is required to make it final.
There are about 850 full-time city employees and a few hundred more part-time or temporary employees, Leath said.
In the current fiscal year employees received an across-the-board 3 percent raise. City employees received a merit raise of up to 3 percent last fiscal year.
City staff previously considered including a merit bonus of up to 2 percent in the proposed budget. Leath said providing the bonus to all employees would help the people who need it the most.
City Council asked staff members to see if there was a way to include a bonus for employees during a budget retreat in Pinopolis last month. The budget presented April 17 did not include any pay increases for city employees.
Councilwoman Susan Grissom Means said she preferred providing city employees with a merit-based bonus to an across-the-board bonus.
“It also gives bonuses to people who don’t deserve it,” she said.
In order to include the raise, Leath and Shelton had to find a way to balance the budget, which would not increase the 66.1 mills property tax rate, which remains at 66.1 mills. Last year’s total budget was $152.8 million.
The savings in expenditures came from making small changes to the budget as proposed to council last month, by doing things such as cutting contingency funds, transferring some local accommodations tax money and cutting office supplies in postage and freight, Leath said.
Budget director Michael Shelton said Tuesday that city staff also was able better estimate how much revenue would come in next fiscal year, with the city seeing an estimated $140,000 in new revenue as well as some one-time revenue that was transferred from completed capital improvement projects.
A second, and final reading could happen as soon as May 28.