After a debate about how to fund it, League City City Council on Sept. 27 granted raises to 347 city employees.

The raises will cost the city $1.13 million plus approximately $134,000 after City Council approved further raises of $3 per hour for emergency medical services and telecommunication employees. Under City Council’s direction, City Manager John Baumgartner will have to cut $134,000 from the FY 2022-23 budget, which City Council approved Sept. 13, to fund the additional raises.

The raises come after the salary survey that concluded after the FY 2022-23 budgeting process wrapped up. Evergreen Solutions surveyed comparable cities to obtain pay benchmark data, and city staff accepted most of Evergreen’s recommended pay raises to bring League City in line with comparable cities, according to a memo to City Council.

“These recommendations led to an 8.5% increase to the midpoints of the majority of pay grades, tapering down as the pay grades increased past the $82,000 midpoint,” the memo reads.

Additionally, the city’s starting pay grade was brought up to $15 an hour.

Evergreen advised a starting rate of $21.82 per hour for EMS. City staff used that to reform the EMS pay grade chart, resulting in a $3.43 increase to hourly minimums, according to the memo.

Telecommunication staff dropped significantly after the salary survey began. The starting pay for telecommunication staff was raised to $23 an hour, and an additional $0.50 an hour will be added when telecommunication staff obtains certifications and completes their probationary period.

Council Member Hank Dugie recommended increasing the hourly pay for EMS and telecommunication employees an additional $3 beyond the recommendations. These departments have seen significant turnover and been slightly below average in pay, and if League City leadership wants to have the best employees, increasing their pay is a way to get that, Dugie said.

“I don’t think we can afford to lose anymore EMS, and I don’t think we can afford to lose anymore telecommunicators,” Mayor Pat Hallisey said in support of Dugie’s idea.