Archive for Thursday, December 24, 2009

Council OKs raises for workers

City employees to receive 2 percent increase in 2010

December 24, 2009

Basehor City employees will see a raise in their 2010 wages.

At Monday night’s Basehor City Council meeting, members voted, 4-1 with Iris Dysart opposed, to give the city’s staff a 2 percent raise across the board. The council also voted, 4-1 with Dysart opposed, to provide short-term and long-term disability for the employees.

Council President Jim Washington presented the pay package proposal, which was amended from a plan originally recommended by the city staff that included an 8 percent pay increase for specific positions, a 3 percent merit increase for all staff members, a 2.5 percent cost-of-living allowance across the wage scale and disability.

Washington said the approved pay package was a fair and effective compromise. The city wants to help its employees, Washington said, and this is the best way to do that during such tough economic times.

“We appreciate our people, and we want to make sure even in these hard times that we do what’s possible to do,” Washington said. “We think that this, considering our situation… this treats our people well.”

Mayor Terry Hill clarified for the council he had directed the city’s staff members to find an ideal strategy for using the 8 percent increase in the salaries portion of the budget. The 8 percent, Hill said, was not necessarily intended to be used for individual raises, but could also be used for situations like new hires and higher insurance costs.

“We asked the staff to participate in how their pay package would look,” Hill said. “I think it was interpreted as a pay raise, which was not necessarily the case. It has been my desire to bring an economic impact package for the entire income proposal for the City of Basehor, to have one budget item to cover everything.”

On that note, Hill said raises were give for two reasons, both of which had not at all been affected by the economy.

“I can think of two reasons we give pay raises: one is for morale, and one is for retention,” Hill said. “I know there are plenty of people who don’t think morale has any value, but that’s why we give raises. That’s not how we do it, that’s why we do it. So what’s changed about the need for morale or the need for retention? It’s my contention, nothing.”

Speaking against the additions to the pay and benefits plan was Dysart. Dysart said she believed the city already had a more than generous benefit package for its employees, and providing disability went above and beyond.

“I guess one reason I’m uncomfortable with it, is we provided vision for $5,500, and now with this $6,600 (for disability through Blue Cross Blue Shield) that’s almost $12,000 in new benefits in one year,” Dysart said. “I think our benefit package is whopping now.”

Hill said the process of deciding city salaries would run more smoothly in the future because of the learning experience everyone had this year.

“As we move forward into the future… I think we’ll have a better idea of how this is going to unfold, and we won’t be talking in December about pay increases for the employees,” Hill said.

Also on Monday night, the council:

• Conducted a budget hearing to amend the 2009 budget to include an additional $33,000 for the Cedar Lakes Estates maintenance fund. The city has already spent more than the $17,000 originally budgeted, and the hearing would reorganize budgeted monies to avoid a state budget violation. No comments were made, and the council approved the change to the budget, 5-0.

• Approved, 5-0, liquor licenses for Shorty’s Liquor, Kelley’s Bar and Grill, Pastimes Bar and Grill and Falcon Lakes Golf Club.

• Approved, 5-0, a resolution for abatement of an environmental code violation at 15821 Willow Drive. The city has attempted several times to contact the homeowner to remove debris from the lawn near the home with no success.

• Approved, 5-0, a resolution amending Article A, Section A-5 of the city’s personnel manual that allows changes to the manual to be made by way of a resolution.

• Tabled, 5-0, a request from the Basehor Athletic Association for $10,500.

• Approved, 5-0, a resolution authorizing the mayor, city administrator, assistant city administrator, city treasurer and city clerk to conduct business with Commerce Bank for the purposes of the city’s purchasing policy.

• Approved, 5-0, Wolf Creek Parkway project change orders 3A and 3B. Change order 3A includes one handicap ramp constructed at the northeast location of Wolf Creek Parkway and 153rd Street, retaining walls along Wolf Creek Parkway and an iron fence along the pond on Wolf Creek Parkway with a total of $129,296.60. Change order 3B includes relocation of a power pole located southeast of the Wolf Creek Parkway and 150th Street intersection with a total of $3,079. Both 3A and 3B are vital pieces to the project’s completion.

• Considered approval of Wolf Creek Parkway project change order 4A, which includes planting of shade trees and building retaining walls within the pond totaling $208,434. The item died for lack of a motion.

• Approved, 5-0, Wolf Creek Parkway project change order 4B, which includes installation of conduit, wire and transformers for street lights totaling $30,000.

• Approved, 4-1 with council member David Breuer opposed, ordinance 564 amending ordinance 503 pertaining to building code requirements for sprinkler systems. The ordinance reverts back to the building code adopted by the city in 2003, which calls for a business guideline of 12,000 feet for sprinklers instead of 5,000 feet.

• Approved, 4-1 with Breuer opposed, ordinance 565 amending ordinance 507 pertaining to fire code requirements for sprinkler systems. This ordinance also reverts to the 2003 guideline of 12,000 feet.

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