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Minimum wage hike will cost $202K in 2023-24 Norwalk budget

Gov. Ned Lamont on Tuesday signs legislation to increase the minimum hourly wage. (Contributed)

Updated, 9:31 a.m.: Budget impact figures revised to show cumulative yearly cost of hike.  Added information about Summer Youth Employment Program plus information from Josh Morgan regarding affected positions.

NORWALK, Conn. – More than 200 city and schools employees will receive higher hourly pay starting in October as a result of Connecticut’s minimum wage hike.

The newly passed raise in Connecticut’s minimum wage will account for $201,750 in higher costs for Norwalk’s 2023-24 budget, according to Norwalk Communications Manager Joshua Morgan. That’s based simply on employees who make minimum wage and does not factor in related potential pay raises to employees.

Gov. Ned Lamont on Tuesday signed the legislation to raise the minimum hourly wage in Connecticut to $15 through a series of gradual increases over the next several years, with the first hike this October, according to a press release.

“After the scheduled increases take effect, the new law requires the minimum wage to grow according to federal economic indicators, so everyone can continue to share in Connecticut’s prosperity,” the release from Lamont’s office said.

The new law requires the minimum wage to increase from its current level of $10.10 to:

  • $11 on Oct. 1
  • $12 on Sept. 1, 2020
  • $13 on Aug. 1, 2021
  • $14 on July 1, 2022
  • $15 on June 1, 2023

 

There are 227 city and school employees who earn less than $15/hour, Morgan wrote recently.

Morgan on May 8 provided a spreadsheet, and noted that many of the affected employees work part-time as seasonal or temporary employees.

CitySchoolMinWage

The estimated cumulative Norwalk budget impact of the phased-in increase each year is:

  • $20,066.27 in 2020
  • $54,123.18 in 2021
  • $117,604.74 in 2022
  • $201,750.68 in 2023

Norwalk’s budget for 2019-20, including schools, is capped at $351 million.

“Many seasonal workers hired are Norwalk residents who contribute to local businesses and help grow the economy. This is a good thing!” Morgan wrote.

NancyOnNorwalk asked the city spokesman last week for more information about the positions affected by the increase.  On Wednesday morning he wrote that positions affected include school crossing guards, lifeguards at the beach, and camp counselors.

Participants in the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment program work 25 hours per week for six weeks in July and August and are paid minimum wage, funded by a $95,000 City contribution plus private fundraising and grants.  About 200 students will be hired in summer 2019, according to a Norwalk Hour report.  It’s unclear what impact, if any, the hike on Oct. 1 will have on next year’s program.

NancyOnNorwalk asked about employees working for city service providers, perhaps outsourced janitorial or security staff.

The contracted services call for a flat price, Morgan replied.

Janitorial workers laboring under the Service Employees International Union, Local 32BJ, collective bargaining unit are currently making $15.50 an hour as their minimum wage and will get a pay raise on July 1 to $15.75 an hour. The contract, which expires on Dec. 31, calls for a raise to $16.05 in October.

“The minimum rate for all cleaners shall be at all times at least fifty (50) cents above the statutory minimum wage for cleaners in that county or portion thereof,” the contract states.

The City’s job board is currently advertising for a part-time custodian at $12 an hour, a part-time library shelver at $10.10 an hour and a part-time beach lifeguard for $13 an hour.

Lamont on Tuesday is quoted as saying:

“This is perhaps one of the most impactful pieces of legislation for working families that a governor can sign, and I am proud to place my signature on this law because it is the right thing to do. With this new law, thousands of hardworking women and men – many of whom are supporting families – will get a modest increase that will help lift them out of poverty, combat persistent pay disparities between races and genders, and stimulate our economy. This is a fair, gradual increase for the working women and men who will invest the money right back into our economy and continue supporting local businesses in their communities.”

 

Republican Town Committee District D Chairman John Romano, who is also a small business owner, said the minimum wage increase will hurt Connecticut businesses.

It won’t matter in Romano’s pool business where every employee is already making more than minimum wage, but he’s opening a sports bar in Milford and will have to hire 50 to 60 people, he said. “It’s going to be devastating. I’m hearing that from all the restaurants, everywhere, that it’s going to be totally devastating to their businesses.”

9 comments

Stuart Wells May 29, 2019 at 7:49 am

I did not see poll workers on the linked “CitySchoolMinWage” list.
I estimate that they would be entitled to an increase of about $50 per election by 2023, for a total extra cost to the city of about $10,000 by then. Most poll workers are paid a flat rate for the 15-hour day (5:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.) plus overtime for work after 8:00 p.m.

Piberman May 29, 2019 at 10:19 am

CT Democrats are creating economic history. Raising the minimum wage to boost a decade long stagnant economy/employment levels. May have to rewrite economic text books if this works ! Most likely will work to depress our flagging State economy. And deny opportunities to those looking for low skilled work. CT Dems seem to care more about those employed than those not able to secure jobs.

Piberman May 29, 2019 at 11:47 am

Legislators from our major depressed CT cities with endemic unemployment among their lower skilled populations reportedly haven’t supported this Legislation. Apparently they understand that raising wages doesn’t encourage greater employment of lower skilled citizens

But Norwalk Democratic Legislators supported raising the minimum wage. In a City with a poverty rate near 10% and no shortage of lower skilled residents seeking employment opportunities.

Similarly those concerned about securing opportunities for illegal or undocumented immigrants haven’t supported this news legislation.

That Legislators for our major depressed cities and advocates of illegal/undocumented immigrants have not visibly supported this Legislation speaks volumes about how CT addresses its least advantaged residents.

Does Sen. Duff and his Democratic colleagues “speak for Norwalk” here ?

Mike OReilly May 29, 2019 at 11:58 am

This creates a lost opportunity for so many young individuals to gain confidence and self worth succeeding in their very first job.
Employers can’t possibly pay someone with zero experience $15.00 an hour before they have skills.

Bryan Meek May 29, 2019 at 12:19 pm

$15 minimum wage is a gift to the state workers who’s contracts are indexed to the minimum wage. They just got guaranteed raises for the next 4 years without having to lift a finger. This was never about helping the poor. The side effect, is it will create more poverty which is simply inventory for the Legislature. More poverty, more programs, more votes, more taxes. To infinity and beyond!

Mike Lyons May 29, 2019 at 10:42 pm

I wonder how many of the people standing around Lamont will end up unemployed because of this bill?

chris redfield May 31, 2019 at 11:22 am

Yeah guys, let’s go back to paying our workers $0! What was that called again? Oh yeah, slavery. Let’s go back to that.

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