Warner Robins council passed the last part of the pay scale adjustment officially changing the way city employees are paid.

In a unanimous 4-0 vote, Warner Robins Council approved a 20 step program for employee pay.

Last week, the Council approved the Fiscal Year 2018 budget that allowed a pay scale adjustment. Warner Robins Fire Chief Ross Moulton said it was good for his department's morale.

“Everybody's real excited, I mean this is a change for employee's families and their future here in Warner Robins, for the Fire Department. I think it means they're going to stay and not look for anything else,” Moulton said after the meeting.

Moulton says this will help more than 90 percent of the WRFD. The adjustment will now reward employees for years spent with the city, capping at 20.

That’s expected to fix a salary compression issue that was causing more tenured city employees to sometimes make the same as the newer employees.

But during the meeting, Councilman Chuck Shaheen ruled out one way to pay for it.

“I'm not voting to raise taxes; I'm just going to tell you. Okay. So my thing is how you going to pay next year and the residual years after that?” Shaheen said in the meeting.

It's a question city leaders have yet to answer.

In 2018, the $1.6 million will come from reserves to pay for the adjustments. After that, the Chief Financial Officer says the city won't have enough in reserves to pay for it in 2019. The $1.6 million does include five new positions at the Warner Robins Police Department, which will also be a residual cost.

Shaheen says there are other ways to pay for it all.

“Generate revenue right? And we have that opportunity to generate revenue owning our own water, sewer, and natural gas. So, we got to get on it, start raising more money,” Shaheen told the rest of Council during the meeting.

Shaheen was not present for the budget vote last week.

Under the new system, each year, if an employee passes his or her evaluation, they get slightly more than a 2 percent raise. The City uses 26 different pay grades to classify employees, now each grade will have 20 steps rewarding employees for longevity.

It goes into effect immediately, starting with the pay period beginning on July 3, 2017, according to the ordinance.

Councilmen Tim Thomas and Keith Lauritsen were not present at Wednesday night’s meeting.

The Council also approved a contract for two inmate work details from Dooly State Prison for $39,500.00.