City employees get 1% pay raise

By Jessica LeDuc
Blade staff writer

The Concordia City Commission approved a one-percent pay raise for all employees Wednesday night.
The pay increase was included in the 2013 budget. But before approval, Commissioner Charles Johnson said he would rather see the raise be equalized by giving each classified and non-classified employee the same amount – $327.29.
Mayor Lyle Pounds said as a teacher for 40 years, he'd grown accustomed to those with more experience receiving more of a raise when it was based on a percentage.
"Those on the lower end get less and if you have a higher degree with more experience, you got more," Pounds said. "This one-percent across the board raise, I don't have any problem with it."
Johnson disagreed, saying those who were on the lower end of the pay scale were the ones doing most of the work.
"It's very true that when you deal with percentages, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer," he said.
Commissioner Tim Parker said it was important to look at the level of experience when considering pay scales.
"The higher classified employee is probably more valuable and harder to replace," he said. "That's true at my restaurant, so they should be compensated that way."
Despite his call for raises to be a set dollar amount, Johnson voted with the rest of the Commission to approve the one-percent raise for all 47 classified and eight non-classified employees.
While no action was taken, the Commission came to the consensus to put the savings from switching insurance plans toward debt payments.
In August, the Commission approved switching from the state of Kansas employee health plan to Blue Cross Blue Shield, resulting in more than $100,000 in savings.
Finance Director Amber Farha presented the Commission with several options to use the excess money, one being to move it to the debt service fund. In 2014, the debt service fund will require an additional four mills to cover debt payments. This trend of increasing debt payments will continue after 2014, she said.
Pounds said construction of the dam at Plum Road will require an additional three mills. Instead of having to raise taxes to pay for that, he said he would rather see the Commission find a way to absorb that cost. One way to do that, he said, would be to apply the $128,000 in insurance savings to the city's debt.
The other Commissioners agreed, and Farha said she would prepare a rough draft of a budget amendment to present at the next meeting.
City Manager Larry Uri told Commissioners that one downtown property owner has expressed interest in the new Community Development Block Grant commercial rehabilitation program. Because the city can only sponsor one grant applicant, Uri said he has begun advertising the program to give all eligible property owners an opportunity to apply.
Anyone interested in applying is asked to submit a preliminary description of the proposed project to City Hall by 5 p.m. on Mon., Dec. 17.
The Commission also approved an extension on a development agreement between the City and Womack Sunshine Ford.
Since 2010, Steve Womack has had an option to purchase land in Concordia's flood control area to relocate his Ford dealership. Now that the land is ready for development, Womack has asked to have until April 1, 2013, to make a decision on purchasing the three acre tract at the intersection of Highway 81 and College Drive.

NEWS

Winners announced in lighting contest

 Winners of the Concordia Christmas Lighting Contest were decided earlier this week with Leroy Dickinson and Dan Wheatley, 719 W. 6th street winning the first place award of a $100 Chamber gift certificate.  Second place of a $75 Chamber gift certificate went to Rickey... [More]

Courthouse 12-19-14

District Court District Court CRIMINAL  Jared W. Shuler appeared Dec. 17 and was found Guilty and convicted of Big Game Permit Violation. He was sentenced to 30 days in the Cloud County Jail and ordered to pay a reduced fine of $250, costs of the action, $108 by Jan. 28,... [More]

Commission approves bond sale for dam projects

By Jessica LeDuc Blade Staff Writer  The Concordia City Commission approved the sale of $1.2 million in general obligation bonds to fund construction of the Plum Road and 21st Street dams Wednesday night. Chuck Boully with George K. Baum & Co., Wichita, told the Commission... [More]

More News

SPORTS

Bulldogs pin loss on Panthers in league dual

thumb

 The Concordia High School wrestling team was beaten 46-36 by Marysville in a North Central Kansas League dual Thursday night in the Concordia Junior-Senior High School gymnasium. Concordia got out to an 18-0 lead by winning the first three matches.  Zach Strait, 106... [More]

Four Panthers receive state recognition

 Four members of the Concordia High School football team have received all-state recognition.  Running back Drake Hake was named first team Class 4A-Division II All-State by the VarsityKansas.com and first team Class 4A All-State by the Topeka Capital Journal. A 5-7,... [More]

More Sports

OPINIONS

Letter to the Editor 12-19-14

Dear Editor,  In March 2014, a group of young professionals in Concordia started meeting monthly to network and begin working on projects that would benefit our community. Many of us had been active in the Park Project and wanted to continue the momentum. We started calling... [More]

Year of Peace

Sometimes a gift is more than just what's under the tree  By Sister Jean Rosemarynoski  Christmas is a time when differences seem to melt away and we more readily come together as a human community to care for one another.  The Concordia Year of Peace would like... [More]

More Opinions

Buy Photos