Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord

Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord reflects on the city’s strong financial footing before Goodyear City Council approved raises for its employees.

With a surprisingly strong economic year putting millions in the bank, Goodyear City Council decided to share the wealth, approving raises for city employees.

After hearing “revenues are booming” during a finance presentation at its Dec. 7 meeting, council approved raises for nonunion employees. (union employees—primarily in the police and fire departments—received raises in July, at the beginning of the fiscal year.)

And council approved the hiring of 26 full-time and eight part-time employees. Two police officers and three “civilian” positions will be added to the Goodyear Police Department.

Current employees will be eligible for “2.5% merit or a 1.25% lump sum compensation increase effective with the pay period beginning Jan. 10, 2021,” according to the agenda.

The Goodyear General Fund has a $110 million balance, according to Manager of Budget and Research Lauri Wingenroth’s presentation.

Though Wingenroth did not go into details on it, the fund was boosted by nearly $10 million from the AZCares Fund—a state distribution to cities of federal funds during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While Peoria and other cities have used the funds for small business and rent assistance, Goodyear has not allocated any of the $10 million it received for direct assistance to residents or business owners.

Wingenroth focused on the money streaming into the city from sales tax and fees.

“Revenues are booming,” she said.

She said the COVID-19 pandemic did not hit the city hard.

“There were things like incentives that may have changed spending behaviors. … Restaurants adapted fairly quickly to takeout and found a way to not have their revenues drop as much as we anticipated,” Wingenroth said.“The retail areas are showing double-digit growth over last year’s actuals,” she added.

The city continues to grow, meaning more tax and fee money for the city.

Wingenroth said building permits were “higher than the prior year, which was higher than the prior year, which was higher than the prior year.

“We continue to benefit on the revenue side from growth,” she said.

Wingenroth asked the council to approve the raises and new hires.

“We feel you have the resources to move forward with these actions,” Wingenroth said.

Council agreed, voting unanimously to approve the request.

“We like all that happy news,” said Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord.