City commission approves adjusting wages, pay scale for classified staff
Increasing wages for classified staff by $1 per hour and adjusting the pay scale to allow for opportunities for merit pay scale increases at shorter intervals were approved by the Concordia city commission during its regular meeting.
The commission approved a resolution to adopt staff recommendations to increase wages in 2021 by $1 per hour for the non-fire pay scale and $1 per hour for the fire pay scale to make employment with the city more attractive to qualified applicants, and more competitive with similar jobs during early years of employment.
Total cost of the wage increase will be $107,074.05 to the general fund and $22,018.46 to the utility fund.
Also approved by the commission was a resolution to accept staff recommendations to remove Range 7 of the current pay scale and to allow opportunities for merit (step) pay increases at six month intervals between Base, A and B; one-year intervals between steps C-K; and two-year intervals between steps L-P.
It was recommended by the staff to adjust the pay scale to allow opportunities for merit pay increases each year during the first 10 years of employment to help retain employees and encourage them to remain with the city until such time they experience opportunity for promotion, increased accrual of vacation leave, earn opportunity for sick leave payout and receive longevity pay.
Staff also recommended that employees be eligible for a merit pay increase every two years between year 11 and year 20. Employees will top out at year 20, but would still be eligible for any cost of living adjustment increases.
Total cost of the changes for 2021 will be $13,136.87 to the general fund and $1,697.61 to the utility fund.
A portion of the additional property tax dollars allocated to the city following the expiration of the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District will be used to cover the additional cost of the resolutions that were adopted.
The property tax increment allocated to the city, that was previously restricted to projects within the TIF District, will now be deposited into the general fund without restriction. It is estimated to be $237,472 annually.
City staff recommended using about half of the revenue to pay for the wage increase and the pay scale changes.
“By using some of those funds to support this wage increase, there is no additional burden on the taxpayers,” city manager Amy Lange said.
During a meeting on December 16, 2020, the city commission requested a wage study be prepared for further discussion on the staff recommendation for the $1 hour wage increase.
The wage study was prepared in-house and discussed during a study session on February 3.
Also during the meeting, the commission approved the purchase of a 2018 Ford Explorer for the Concordia Police Department, at a cost of $25,850, with funds coming from the general fund.
The Explorer will be purchased from the Kansas Highway Patrol. It has 49,291 miles on it with three remaining of a five-year, 100,000 mile extended service plan and is equipped with the police package.
Upon purchase, the Police Department will need to add radio equipment, a roof-mount light bar, additional security cage panel and exterior decals, at an estimated cost of $3,000.
The Explorer will replace a 2007 Chevrolet Impala with 95,020 miles on it, which will be sold through public auction.
The commission also approved moving forward with applying through the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) for a City Connecting Link Improvement Program surface preservation project.
The proposed project is a mill and overlay project starting on the west side of Cloud Street to the east city limits on East Sixth Street (K-9 Highway). It would be completed by KDOT’s fiscal year 2023.
CCLIP projects are split with KDOT paying 90 percent, up to $300,000, and the city paying 10 percent plus the cost of design.
The engineer’s estimate for the project is $275,916.25. The city’s share would be $34,341.63.
The commission also approved Mayor Chuck Lambertz signing the request to exchange federal funds in the amount of $73,461.18 and to apply for reimbursement of $66,115.06 using the First Street and Lincoln Street (U.S. Highway 81) shoulder project.
The Federal Fund Exchange program allows the city to receive 90 percent of the funds to be exchanged. It allows the city to be more flexible in the way it spends the funds.
Cloud County Emergency Management/Safety director James Quillen and Miltonvale EMS director Kathy Coleman met with the board to discuss upgrading the communication systems for the first responders throughout the county.
Pierce Electronics, Mankato, put together a proposal to unify and enhance the communication systems.
Coleman said that the goal is to make sure all of the emergency services entities have the same equipment.
It was also reported to the commission that the dispatch console, which is operated by the Concordia Police Department, was last upgraded in 1999.
Included within the scope of the project would be replacing the dispatch console, all of the equipment that goes with it, hardware, software, antennas, all of the repeaters across the county as well as adding two repeaters in Clyde.
Estimated cost of the project is $211,234.85.
Coleman said that they are looking at applying for grants to help cover the cost of the project.
“We are trying to do 100-percent grant funding,” Coleman said.
Coleman said she would like to have the project completed by the end of the year.
Cloud County Sheriff Ken Davis also spoke to the commission and said that the department encountered a situation in Clyde with an armed suspect threatening to shoot people, and because there are no repeaters in the community, his officers were unable to communicate with one another.
“We could absolutely not talk to one another there in Clyde. We can’t coordinate, the officers are in danger,” Davis said.