The Dumfries Town Council has unanimously approved a $1.1 million fiscal 1991 budget that will raise salaries for town employees and police from 7 to 12.5 percent.
The raises, which include a 5 percent adjustment for the cost of living, go into effect July 1.
The budget, a 9 percent increase over current spending, also will provide substantial increases in allowances -- but not salaries -- for the mayor and council members. Those increases will raise each council member's annual allowance for town-related business from $100 to $500 and the mayor's from $500 to $750.
The council chose the allowance increases, which were recommended by Town Manager Thomas Harris, over its original plan to double council members' salaries to $4,800 and raise the mayor's salary from $4,800 to $7,200. Those raises were proposed as compensation for the increasing business the council anticipates it will be tackling in the next year, according to Harris.
The town, whose population has increased by almost 2,000 to 5,500 in the last 10 years, is preparing to take over maintenance of its roads from the state soon.
Officials also are anticipating more development in Dumfries.
As town manager, Harris said he is assuming most of the town's administrative duties. The council decided to hire a town manager as Dumfries's chief administrator last year, but the first town manager quit after three months on the job.
Harris has been manager since April.
The larger allowances will permit the mayor and council members to attend more meetings or workshops for government officials, helping them get better acquainted with regional and national issues.
"They will become better policy makers," Harris said.
The town's police department gets the largest portion of the budget, about 37 percent or $415,525.
The six patrol officers and town investigator will receive 12.5 percent salary increases, beginning July 1.
Harris said the adjustments will bring officers' salaries -- ranging from $22,433 to $23,799 -- more in line with those in similar-sized jurisdictions in the metropolitan area.
Although the police department budget will rise almost 9 percent over this year, it does not include funds for new positions.
The department, which has confronted a steady increase in drug-related crime over the past two years, has repeatedly requested funds for additional officers, including two positions for next year.
Police Chief Conrad LaBossiere, who was absent from the vote last week due to illness and not expected back at town hall until later this week, was unavailable for comment.
Recently Harris and LaBossiere asked the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice to review the department's operating procedures to determine its efficiency.
As a supplement to the budget, the council authorized Harris to update the town's personnel manual to include policies on merit increases, job descriptions and job and safety requirements.