Adele Schirmer

Adele Schirmer, Social Circle's City Manager 

The Social Circle City Council reviewed recommendations during a June 3 work session to adjust wages for some municipal jobs. City manager Adele Schirmer explained the suggested readjustments are so the city can remain competitive with nearby cities of similar size and therefore retain workers.

“Not every position in the city is up for a market rate adjustment,” Schirmer said.

The proposed adjustments are included in the city’s draft budget for next fiscal year.

Councilman Tyson Jackson asked Schirmer what impact the wage rate adjustments would have on the proposed budget.

Schirmer said the total cost for the market rate changes is $76,270.

Only those jobs that are no longer competitive are being proposed to be adjusted to a new minimum, she said.

Schirmer said Walton County conducted a market rate study three years ago that was focused on the salaries of police and firefighters. She said Social Circle’s first responders’ wages are comparable to what was in the county’s study at a midpoint range.

The city manager told council members she researched pay range scales for other city positions, such as the municipal court clerk, by using the Department of Community Affairs website and by looking at studies conducted by cities of similar size. The DCA website lists salaries for Georgia’s cities and counties for every government position and categorizes cities and counties by population.

By way of example, Schirmer suggested the yearly salary range for the municipal court clerk, which is currently at a minimum of $29,719 to a maximum of $45,044, could be readjusted to a minimum of $36,210 to a maximum of $54,882.

Schirmer said factors like tenure would be taken into consideration, should council approve the salary adjustments.

“Nothing would reduce anyone’s salary,” she said.

The city manager also proposed including a 2.5% cost-of-living adjustment on top of the other recommended adjustments. Schirmer had suggested next year’s budget also include merit increases of 2% for employees who meet or exceed expectations. The proposed budget would not include changes to employee health insurance or benefits, she said.

The council also held a public hearing on the proposed 7.9 millage rate last week.

The city council will hold a second public hearing on the millage rate June 15 and will vote on the millage during the regular meeting that follows.

Schirmer said property values had been reassessed and were shown to have an approximate 6% increase in value based on new growth. Therefore, the millage rate is recommended to remain at the current rate of 7.9 mills.

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