The borough assembly voted unanimously March 7 to amend the employee pay scale with an annual cost-of-living allowance based on the Alaska consumer price index.

The intent is to avoid the annual task of debating annual salary adjustments during borough budget deliberations.

“City employees should feel that they’re taken care of, so they don’t have to worry about (cost-of-living adjustments) every year,” Assemblymember Orion Hanson said.

The adjustment will be applied to borough employee wages at the start of each fiscal year on July 1.

Borough employees will still be eligible for raises based on merit and other factors, Assemblymember Dave Brena said.

“Under no circumstances will (the wages) go down, so if there’s negative CPI adjustment, wages will stay the same as last year,” Brena said.

The Alaska CPI, as determined by the U.S. Department of Labor, increased 3 percent in 2018 after three years of low growth in 2015, 2016 and 2017, at 0.5, 0.4 and 0.5 percent, respectively.