Dilley approves raises for city workers

Council gives employees $2.25 hourly increase, prevents walk-off

DILLEY, Texas - A small South Texas community benefiting from the Eagle Ford shale boom was forced to deal with some growing pains Monday night.

The Dilley City Council called a special meeting to discuss a pay raise for its city workers after some threatened to walk off the job last week.

The town's Public Works employees made the threats after the council approved a 3% raise for its 34 employees. Many felt that wasn't enough of a raise considering how much the city has grown because of the oil boom.

After a few hours of discussion, the council reached a compromise to give the workers a more significant increase.

Rudy Olivares, director of Public Works for the city of Dilley, said while he and his workers didn't get the $3.25 raise they were hoping for, he expects they will all stay on the job. However, he was undecided about his future with the city.

"I thought my employees deserved the amount that was proposed originally to include the police department and everybody else, but it turned out this way so I just have to think about it," Olivares said.

It took four motions for the council to reach an agreement on the cost of living increase.

In the end, they voted to raise the city's 5 minimum wage workers to $9.00 an hour.

The other employees will get a bump of $2.25 per hour. Council members also voted to only give a raise of $1.25 to the city administrator and a police lieutenant who got raises eight months ago.

"I think everybody pretty much got a fair shake," Lt. Brian Noe said. "They didn't all get what they wanted, but it did work out."

Even though he was getting a smaller raise then the rest of the city workers, Noe was generally pleased with the compromise. He said the area has changed significantly in the past year due to the Eagle Ford shale boom and the workers deserved a fair raise to match their increasing responsibilities.

"Everything has changed. The economy has changed, the growth has changed, the work has changed,” Noe said. "All these guys are doing triple what they were doing a year ago, if not more, and there's not a person here who's not doing that."

By approving the raise, the city council took back the 3% raise they offered a week ago.

Moving forward, they promised to revisit another raise for the workers in the fall when the next year's budget kicks in.


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