PROVO — City employees have said in a landslide vote they want city administrators to cover their health benefits and maintain pay steps.

Now the City Council will consider three resolutions to appropriate funding in the 2009 budget to pay for those employee benefits.

In May, Mayor Lewis Billings proposed a budget that would trim city employees' pay grades and cut cost-of-living adjustments as a way to cope with one of the tightest financial years the city has faced in recent history. Billings' proposed budget also recommended city employees start paying a portion of the rising costs of health benefits.

The City Council did not approve the recommendations and sent the budget back to city staff to find money to cover some of those employee benefits. As a result, Billings gave city employees their choice between two options: fund a 1 percent cost-of-living adjustment, or cover health-benefit costs and maintain the 5 percent pay steps.

The city prepared and circulated an opinion poll to all departments last month so full-time employees could vote on the matter. The poll found city employees favored the second option by a margin of 389 to 132 — a ratio of nearly 3-to-1.

If the City Council approves the resolutions tonight, $269,246 in various departments will be appropriated to fund employee insurance coverage and step increases. Another $2,530 and $3,094 in the city's community development block grant fund and storm drain fund, respectively, will be appropriated to cover those employee benefits.

The City Council will discuss the resolution today in the council chambers at 351 W. Center at 7 p.m.

Provo city employee poll

Last month, Provo asked city employees if they preferred to receive a 1 percent cost-of-living adjustment (Option A), or have health-benefit costs covered and 5 percent pay steps increases maintained (Option B). The results:

Option A: 132 (25.34 percent)

Option B: 389 (74.66 percent)

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