Town of Dillon looks at pay raises, adjustments to match rest of county

A boat rentals sign is pictured April 12, 2021, at Dillon Marina. Dillon Marina Director Craig Simson gave “philosophical support” for the idea of a $22 per hour minimum wage. As an enterprise fund, the marina is responsible for financially supporting itself.
Sawyer D’Argonne/

Despite leading the county in terms of staffing, town employees in Dillon could see raises across the board shortly. An increased minimum wage, percentage raises, salary scale adjustments and hourly raises will all arrive in the coming quarters, with a $2 per hour raise applied retroactively to all hours worked by hourly full-time employees since July 1.

Breckenridge, Frisco and Summit County government also raised hourly employee pay by $2 per hour at varying points in the past year. Dillon staff cited remaining competitive with county neighbors as a reason for the raise.

The estimated budget impact to the town caused by the $2 raise will be $83,200 in 2022 and $166,400 in 2023. Full-time hourly employees can expect to see the back pay applied to their next paycheck. 

“We’re looking at this more from an equity standpoint,” Town Manager Nathan Johnson said. “We feel that the $2 per hour adjustment across the board is the fair and equitable way to do it.”

While the town is looking at increased pay as a hiring incentive, Dillon is fully staffed with the exception of one position in the police department, Johnson said Tuesday, Aug. 2.

“If you look at all the other entities we are — by far — ahead of everybody,” he said.

Staff also recommended raising the town’s $17 per hour minimum wage to $20 per hour. The raise would help the town keep up with other groups, as Vail Resorts and other towns in the county have done the same, a staff report read.

Council member Kyle Hendricks wondered if the town should look at an even higher minimum wage, like $22 per hour. The move he said would make a statement to the community.

On Tuesday, Finance Director Carri McDonnell said raising the minimum wage to $22 per hour wouldn’t have a big impact. As of Thursday, Aug. 4, she said her team had not had a chance to calculate the exact impact. McDonnell said the proposed $22 per hour pay would bring part-time employees close to even with full-time employees.

Dillon Marina Director Craig Simson gave “philosophical support” for the idea of $22 per hour. As an enterprise fund, the marina is responsible for financially supporting itself. Simson said the marina may have to look at cutting positions or services to balance the budget were the town to increase its minimum wage. Whatever the town decides on its wages, he said that they’ll “just have to continue to be awesome.”

The immediate bumps in pay will pair with 4% pay raises for all full-time employees slated for January 2023. The 4% raises would cost the town about $145,602 in 2023, according to town staff.

“It means a lot more to the people making less money,” McDonnell said about the 4% raise. “For those making more, it’s a lower percentage.”

Like hourly employees, salaried staff may also see raises. Dillon would set the scale of its salaried positions based on similar positions across the county. Staff would average the countywide minimum and maximum salaries for each of its positions.

Staff recommended creating a new salary scale for its salaried employees with the max salary worth no more than 140% of the minimum salary. If the county’s average maximum for a salary comes out to $100,000, the minimum salary would be about $71,048, McDonnell said.

Johnson said the town is still waiting to hear the results of salary surveys across the county. Until then, based on preliminary numbers, salary scale adjustments would likely amount to $58,400 for the remainder of 2022 and $233,600 in 2023, according to town staff.

Johnson said the town anticipates finalizing the scale in the next 60 to 90 days with adjustments coming sometime in the final quarter. According to a staff report, the town anticipates sending out the first adjusted paychecks in October.

Staff also recommended doubling the yearly well-being benefit from $400 to $800. Per the recommendation, employees would receive $50 per quarter automatically, with an additional $150 awarded for attending a quarterly wellness event.

The town hosts two eligible wellness activities each quarter. They could range from a dietitian talking about post-exercise nutrition to financial advisors discussing expense tracking.

The money can be used to reimburse purchases related to physical, mental and financial wellness, including ski passes, recreation center passes, personal training and even financial advisement.

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