San Marcos City Council approves mid-fiscal year cost-of-living pay increase for city employees

San Marcos City Council will next meet April 5 at 6 p.m. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
San Marcos City Council will next meet April 5 at 6 p.m. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

San Marcos City Council will next meet April 5 at 6 p.m. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)

The San Marcos City Council unanimously approved a mid-fiscal year 2% cost-of-living pay increase March 23 for city employees, overtime for public safety personnel and other staff budget amendments on the first of two readings.

A vote on final approval will take place at the next council meeting.

According to city documents, sales tax revenues in the first six months of fiscal year 2021-22 exceeded projections by more than $1.2 million and could fund the increase.

Police Chief Stan Standridge said the request was presented due to an error in overtime charges for police and fire, discovered late in the regular fiscal year budget process.

“Marie [Kalka, the former director of finance] discovered that the city of San Marcos had been charging the overtime but only a half of the total one and a half to the actual overtime line. The entire full one portion was going to personnel salaries,” Standridge said. “So at a time when we thought we were doing really well with the stewardship of the overtime dollars, because we were tracking them on a monthly basis ... we were actually being charged on their end for that half.”

Some councilors questioned how long the discrepancy in accounting might have gone on and if the city could guarantee that the accounting issue will not happen again.

“The finance personnel in the department at that time knew that was being accounted for, and so they were able to make sure that things were funded appropriately. ... They just didn't realize that that's how it was taken care of, and I will be very candid with you: We have a lot of turnover in our finance department,” City Manager Stephanie Reyes said.

Reyes said new employees that came in from other cities’ accounting departments might not have understood how prior departments accounted for the overtime.

“A lot of the institutional knowledge in terms of the nuts and bolts of how the budgets were put together left with those people,” Reyes said.
By Eric Weilbacher

Editor, New Braunfels and San Marcos/Buda/Kyle

Eric joinedCommunity Impact Newspaper as an editor in July 2021, returning to journalism after several years in the New Braunfels business community. Prior to CI, Eric freelanced for multiple publications and was a reporter for the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung. He brings a passion for accurate, compelling story telling and human interest to his work.