The North Little Rock City Council approved an $80 million budget for 2023 on Monday evening, a 4.7% increase from the original budget for 2022.
The board, in a series of votes, approved:
• A 2.5% salary increase for elected officials, including the city council members.
• A 2.5% salary increase for all city employees not covered under the Fraternal Order of Police, the North Little Rock Police Supervisor's Association and the International Association of Fire Fighters agreements.
• A 3% salary increase for the assistant fire chief, the fire battalion chiefs and the city's fire marshal.
• A $33 million budget for the North Little Rock Electric Department.
Mayor Terry Hartwick said the city would have liked to give its employees a higher raise closer to 5% as some surrounding areas have.
"I think 2.5 is probably lower," he said. "If you think about what's been going on with meat prices, diapers, formula ... I'm glad we can do it, and again, I understand when you do 2.5 once I give it, I can't take it away."
Hartwick added that sanitation workers and police officers have "step and grade" opportunities each year as they advance their careers for higher salaries.
The city sales tax will account for $41 million and the Pulaski County sales tax will account for more than $16 million.
Last year, the city negotiated a two-year contract with the International Association of Fire Fighters union, said Ember Strange, the city's chief financial officer, in an email. The contract called for 3% raises for 2023.
Because the assistant fire chief, the fire battalion chiefs and the fire marshal are not covered by this agreement, a separate resolution had to be approved to give these positions the same 3% increase as the firefighters, she said.
Under the Fraternal Order of Police contract, the entry-level base pay of a police officer will increase from from $42,240 to $48,000 "in order to stay competitive in the market," Strange said in the email.