City of Twin Falls will have to work hard to balance budget

Will walk tightrope between needed raises, possible layoffs

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By Jay Michaels

TWIN FALLS, ID (KMVT) Idaho cities and counties have started hammering out their budgets for the next fiscal year. And just like our personal budgets at home, cities like Twin Falls have to take a close look at what's working and what's not. Results are finally in from a city salary survey of Twin Falls that was conducted two years ago. Now the city is trying to determine what steps they need to take next and which adjustments need to be made.

City Manager Travis Rothweiler says, "The initial results of the survey say generally across the board in the organization, total compensation, which is defined as the level of employee benefit and salary, was about 7 percent below our market competition."

Rothweiler says pay for some Twin Falls city employee positions was above the average, some was below, and others were way below those of their counterparts in other Southern Idaho cities. Those cities included Boise, Meridian, Nampa, and Caldwell, along with Jerome, Burley, and the Mini-Cassia area.

He says, "This is an incredible balancing scenario, where on one hand you’re having a conversation about raises, and on the next hand you’re having a conversation about layoffs. And a complete implementation strategy will more than likely be presented to the city council during the budget process, and there may be elements of both."

Rothweiler shared the results of the survey with the city council. Some of the comments received on the survey point out that while the city of Twin Falls is below the average, so far it’s been able to avoid laying off some of it’s employees. But the city will need to take a close look to make sure that they’re getting their money’s worth.

Rothweiler concludes, "I need to present a balanced budget to the council probably within the next 30 days, so that we can have some really good earnest conversations about the budget."

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