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Atlanta to spend an additional $4M on employee salaries in 2024

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(The Center Square) — Employees of Georgia’s largest city have received a late Christmas gift.

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens said the city would allocate another $4 million for employee salaries in 2024. The increase boosts a previously approved cost of living adjustment for city employees next year from 2.5% to 3.5%.

Dickens announced the 2.5% COLA increase in his fiscal 2024 budget approved in June. The spending plan also included “pay and retention bonuses” for frontline workers in high turnover positions and where city officials say there is significant competition for skilled staff.

City officials are conducting a pay and class study. The city will likely implement the plan’s initial phases starting with the fiscal 2025 budget.

“This is a heartfelt thank you to our employees and a recognition and reward for their dedication,” Dickens said in an announcement. “It is also a strategic investment in the human capital that is critical to the City’s operations. As we await the results of the pay and class study, these enhancements reflect our continued commitment to our workforce and the financial stability of our city.”

The announcement follows a similar move at the state level.

Earlier this month, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp and state leaders announced a plan to give more than 300,000 Georgia employees a $1,000 “employee retention pay supplement.” The bonuses will go to roughly 112,000 state employees and 196,000 teachers and school support staff statewide, an initiative that will cost the state roughly $330 million.

Last month, officials in the Atlanta suburb of Marietta said they would spend more than $1.2 million to increase worker pay. At the time, city officials said it represented “the largest single pay increase for public safety employees.”

The plan increases salaries for general city employees by 4%, electrical line workers by 5% and sworn police officers, firefighters and public safety ambassadors by 7%. It also raises the minimum wage for all positions to $17 an hour and the starting minimum pay for new police officers and firefighters to $51,000 annually.

“With the staffing challenges faced by local governments across the country, we believe this plan will help our recruitment and retention efforts,” the city said in an announcement posted to its website.

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