In order to keep the city of Destin "competitive" in the market, city leaders in Destin are considering a cost of living adjustment, merit pay and a one-time bonus for their employees.
"We struggle with this and so do all cities," City Manager Maryann Ustick said during a recent City Council meeting. "We want to make sure that we have a competitive salary scale so we can retain and attract good employees."
The pay increase would cost the city $89,000, and is tentatively scheduled to be broken down into a 2 percent cost of living adjustment and a 1 percent merit-based plan. City leaders also agreed to use $25,000 in remaining funding from the general fund balance to give a one-time "performance payment" to each employee.
Public Information Manager Doug Rainer said the merit portion would be tied to employee’s evaluations for the current year.
As for the $25,000 performance payment, each full-time employee would be given roughly $300, while part-time employees would receive $150.
Councilman Larry Williges was in favor of rewarding the city's employees for their hard work.
"I think three percent for our employees is pretty good," he said. "A little bit of a COLA is a nice way to say thank you."
The cost of living adjustment and one-time employee payment would be the first time city employees have seen an increase in pay since they received a 2 percent cost of living adjustment in 2012. City leaders must approve the measure during their final budget hearing Sept. 17 at 6 p.m. at the City Hall Annex.
"This kind of keeps us competitive," Ustick said.