Despite numbers showing his city has nearly $10 million in reserves and a structural surplus in its yearly budget, Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight says he is still not giving much thought to giving raises to city employees.
The mayor says municipal budgeting best practices dictate that with a $60 million yearly budget, the city should keep an amount of money approximately equal to what it has in reserve. Goodnight says he would be more motivated to give raises if he saw municipal employees were defecting to other cities to get better benefit packages.
“I’ve been in office now for almost five full years and there’s not been a mass exodus or even a minor exodus of employees,” he says.
The city’s parks and recreation director, John Martino, says it is too early to say what the budget surplus will mean for what he asks for in his next budget.
“That’s something I’m not going to say publicly without talking to the administration, the city council and the city controller,” Martino says. “You’re asking me questions that I can’t, or will not, answer right now.”
Goodnight says the money might be better spent, if it is spent at all, on costlier public projects, such as building a new downtown YMCA and corresponding parking garage.