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Laredo mayor questions impact of raises for city employees

Mayor Saenz wants to understand whether they can afford a list of things, including: The cost of new hires, cost of equity in wage disparities with current and new positions, the impact of giving a 3% raise.
Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 11:17 PM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - There are a number of commitments the City of Laredo has under their belt.

Everything from infrastructure projects, to pay raises, police and fire contracts, the list goes on and on.

Mayor Pete Saenz says this is making him a little nervous and wants to understand what it will cost them in the future.

”It makes me nervous when we approve something without really going through some sort of exercise to determine whether in fact we can actually pay for it, can we afford it?”

Saenz wants to understand whether they can afford a list of things, including: The cost of new hires, cost of equity in wage disparities with current and new positions, the impact of giving a 3% raise.

Now, the pay raise is something District 5 Councilman Ruben Gutierrez says he’s been getting a lot of questions about.

“I’ve gotten a lot of calls from my constituents, saying how on Earth can you be giving our city employees a 3% raise when the city is literally in the red, and you’re looking to be in the red the remainder of this year?” said Gutierrez. “Federal funds are not available to us every single year so what are you thinking, one. Two, is the city looking at bankruptcy pretty soon, and people are asking those questions.”

During the meeting, City Manager Robert Eads agreed that providing the data is important but added that management wouldn’t agree to anything council asked for without crunching the numbers.

“When we also tell you we are able to afford it when we are the ones bringing to you these recommendations, please know that we’ve done that work,” said City Manager Robert Eads.

“We appreciate that every much Robert, but ultimately we’re responsible and it doesn’t... it helps to double check and feel comfortable all of us because ultimately this council is responsible for the cities affairs,” said Saenz,

Eads says they can provide a snapshot of what things will look like in the future based off the current council needs but administrations change and so does the focus.

A final vote to have management provide an overview of expenses for the next five to ten years unanimously passed.

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