Charlottesville, Albemarle and Augusta Counties Spending Millions on Overtime
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Municipal overtime costs are stacking up across the NBC29 viewing area. For example, Charlottesville City Hall is spending millions each year to keep up with the community's demands.
"You can't always predict some things that happen in the community, and you have to be as responsive as possible," Vice Mayor Heather Hill said.
NBC29 pulled overtime figures for the past five years from across the area: Charlottesville spent the most, coming in at more than $17 million.
"When you say the word ‘17 million,’ yes, that seems like a lot. At the same time, I don't know the ins and outs to understand what money that might have prevented us spending in full time roles," said the vice mayor.
Albemarle County costs stand at almost $13 million, while Augusta County rounds out the top three at roughly $2.7 million.
Police, fire and animal control departments are the largest driver of overtime costs for most localities.
Hill says sometimes paying overtime is cheaper than hiring a new employee with a yearly salary and benefits. However, she says overtime should not be the new norm.
"If you see that short-term need is coming up again and again and again, then you have to consider it long term. Is that a need we need to be fulfilling through a more permanent role?" Hill said.
It should also be noted that of all the localities NBC29 pulled numbers from, Greene County does not permit overtime for its government employees. That county’s costs are strictly law-enforcement related.