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

Bowers presents proclamation marking 150th anniversary

Sen. Elaine Bowers presented a proclamation to Florence Girard and the Cloud County board of commissioners when they met Monday morning. The proclamation recognizes Cloud County's 150th anniversary. Cloud County was officially declared a county Sept. 5, 1866. The proclamation... [More]

For the record 9-27-16

Police Dept. Report Arrests—Officers arrested a 14-year-old juvenile at 8:31 a.m., Sept. 23, in the 400 block of West 10th Street. Juvenile was charged with one count of Battery and two counts Criminal Threat. Juvenile was assessed by juvenile intake and released. Officers... [More]

Broadway Plaza opens to public

The gates were officially opened, and the ribbon was cut at the Broadway Plaza during a grand opening celebration Friday afternoon in Downtown Concordia. “Here we are in a beautiful new element to our downtown,” plaza coordinator Jessica Brucken said in welcoming... [More]

More News

SPORTS

Bulldogs shut down, shut out Panthers 34-0

MARYSVILLE — Setting the tone early, the Marysville Bulldogs shut down and shut out the Concordia Panthers 34-0 in a North Central Kansas League clash Friday night. Marysville took the opening kickoff, marched 65 yards and eight plays and scored on a 5-yard pass from Jack... [More]

T-Birds roll to 5-0 victory

GOODLAND — Cloud County extended its winning streak to five straight matches by shutting out Northwest Kansas Technical College 5-0 in a Region 6 soccer match on Saturday. The 19th-ranked Thunderbirds got out to a 2-0 halftime lead, and tacked on three more goals in the... [More]

More Sports

OPINIONS

Prairie Pondering

  Family is the important word . . .  It has been awhile since I opened an American history book, but I am sure that James Madison was a president who regarded the ocean that separates us from Europe as a Godsend, and he did not wish to shorten the distance in any... [More]

Letter to the Editor 9-23-16

 Dear Editor,  During a recent teleconference, Cardinal Raymond Burke, one of the most outspoken defenders of Catholic teaching, weighed in on the upcoming presidential election. He told reporters that 'the faithful must look at the position of both candidates and vote... [More]

More Opinions

Buy Photos