Archive for Wednesday, July 18, 2001

City ponders adding city administrator position

July 18, 2001

To keep up with the development boom as well as lighten the workload of the existing staff, the Basehor City Council will begin looking at the possibility of hiring a city administrator.

"What we will begin to do is research the city administrator position to see if hiring one is a viable option for our city," City Council member Joseph Scherer said.

During the City Council meeting Monday, July 16 Scherer introduced the idea of hiring a city administrator to the City Council. The reasoning behind the idea was a backlog of work being placed upon city staff due to a rise in the number of housing developments being brought into the city.

"At the rate we are getting ready to grow with just the new subdivisions, Mike (Hooper) is swamped," Scherer said. "We are going to have to hire another personnel to just help Mike with inspections.With the amount of inspections that are coming, I just see another member of the staff being needed."

Currently, there are between 1,200 to1,500 homes that are scheduled for review of preliminary plats, said Hooper, who is the Basehor city codes administrator.

City Council members agreed there would be a need for a city administrator position in the future, but Council member Joe Odle said there were other items that needed consideration first.

"I agree that it would be nice to have a City Administrator, but I think that we have a lot of debt and we need to make sure we get on the right track to alleviate that debt before we start thinking about a city administrator," Odle said.

A city administrator for Basehor would require an annual salary in the range of $50,000, city officials said.

City officials said most of the funds for the position would come from two different sources. Some would come from the salary that is currently budgeted for the mayor, city officials said.

Currently, the mayor is paid $9,000 a year and the salary is raised approximately $200 a year.

If a city administrator is hired, the mayor salary would go back to the old salary of $1 a month or $12 a year.

The other source for a city administrator's salary would come from a five mill levy increase that would have to be passed by the residents of Basehor.

Scherer said a mill levy increase would allow city officials to free up money from other funds that would otherwise be used on street improvements.

"I believe if we do this five mill levy to go strictly for streets, we can get the entire public behind that," Scherer said.

In hiring a city administrator, the City Council would also have to change an ordinance that defines the responsibilities of the mayor.

Council member Chris Garcia said the City Council would have to vote on any change in the ordinance, which was passed last year and clearly defines the duties of the mayor.

City officials said one of the benefits of having a city administrator is that person would be able to solicit federal grants.

Currently the city does not qualify for the majority of federal grants because the average income of the residents of Basehor is too high. For the city to be eligible for most federal grants, the average income of the residents must be between low and moderate, city officials said.

Hiring a city administrator would give the city someone who would have the knowledge and the time to research what federal grants Basehor would be eligible for, Scherer said.

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