Riverton personnel costs rising 5 percent – even without cost-of-living adjustments

Expenses for personnel are going up more than 5 percent next year at Riverton City Hall, according to the proposed budget for fiscal year 2023.

City administrator Tony Tolstedt called the increase “significant.”

The added expense includes regular step increases for eligible employees pursuant to city policy, he said, but there has also been an 8 percent increase in health insurance costs and a 3 percent increase in dental insurance.

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“That’s about $232,000,” he said. “That hurt.”

Retirement contributions have increased, too, he said, by more than 3 percent, and worker’s compensation is up, mostly due to the removal of a legislative discount.

“Those are out of our control,” Riverton Mayor Richard Gard pointed out.

Tolstedt agreed.

“It’s not something we can say, ‘OK we’ll just cut right here,’” he said. “(It’s) just the cost of doing business.”

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The city can make the decision about whether to offer cost-of-living adjustments to staff.

Tolstedt did not recommend that move this year – despite a 9.3 percent increase in the statewide inflation rate from the fourth quarter of 2020 to the fourth quarter of 2021, according to the Wyoming Cost of Living Index.

A 4 percent cost-of-living adjustment – which would still be behind the inflation rate – would cost about $290,000, he said.

The city’s budget workbook is available here.

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