JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL)- People in Johnson City could see changes in public works if the pay doesn’t increase and the employees don’t stay.

Public Works Director Phil Pindzola says the tight labor market is impacting the department, and they’ve already started cutting back on services.

“We’re able to keep the basic service level intact, but if this continues at this pace, we’re going to have to look hard at reducing service levels,” he said. “We’ve reduced the number of construction crews primarily. In Solid Waste, we are using some of the administrative staff to cover routes since that’s a high-priority service level for the community.”

On Tuesday, Pindzola said the department is in desperate need of CDL drivers.

“Our problem is there are no applicants; so it’s obviously placing a great deal of stress on some of the operating departments,” Pindzola said. “Competition in the market has really skyrocketed. We’re seeing construction companies that rely on service delivery trucks – they’re now paying $22 an hour whereas we’re at the $15-16 range.”

Between the labor market and inflation, Pindzola says a pay raise has to be looked at.

“The commission, they’re doing their best in at least awarding a 5% pay raise for employees, but frankly, more needs to be done,” he said.

He does expect city leadership to take immediate action by increasing the pay for CDL drivers in the coming weeks.