Council considers changes to pay plan
Administrator recommends raises
Tonganoxie City Council member Velda Roberts isn't satisfied with proposals that would change the pay plan for city employees.
Roberts reviewed alterations to the pay plan during the Dec. 27 city council meeting. The pay plan is the portion of the city budget that outlines wages and salaries for city employees.
"We have seen nothing that shows the total impact on the city budget," Roberts said.
City Administrator Mike Yanez, as the council instructed, presented new information regarding the city's pay plan after members discussed it in a work session Dec. 19.
In addition to the new proposals, Yanez presented salary increases for select Tonganoxie city positions that were below average in comparison to other local cities.
Yanez used salary information from other area communities, including Eudora, Leavenworth, Gardner, Bonner Springs, Basehor and Lansing, as a measuring stick for Tonganoxie employees' salaries. In many cases, Tonganoxie's salaries were below those cities.
Yanez's updated proposals addressed 11 positions, including police officer, utility supervisor and fire chief, that were below average.
Roberts, though, requested more information about the city's pay plan, which has drawn criticism in recent years for being difficult to understand.
"I just don't' think we have the necessary amount of information to know the impact of what we're doing," Roberts said.
Council member Ron Cranor said he was concerned with increasing the wages for new employees when others in a department have been with the city for a few years. Cranor said he was not opposed to increasing salaries, but also wanted to take into consideration current employees.
Roberts asked Yanez whether the proposed pay increase for new employees was a recruiting tool. Yanez said that in hiring some new employees, some applicants have turned down job offers from the city because of the below-average salaries.
The city administrator said his recommended pay upgrades were a Band-Aid approach to the current pay plan. He said it was his intent to use the existing pay plan until a new pay plan is adopted in the future, which Yanez said, at best, would be several months away.
"This to me is Mike's thought as to positions that were way out of whack," council member Jason Ward said.
The council tabled the issue until its next meeting, set for 7 p.m. Monday in council chambers.
Roberts asked that Yanez present any new information to the council several days before the next meeting.
"Let's have more than three days before we get it also, please," she said.
In other business, the council:
- Accepted a low bid from Phoenix Fabricators of Avon, Ind., for construction of a 300,000-gallon, multi-leg water tower near the new middle school campus, which is being constructed near Pleasant and Washington streets. Phoenix's low bid was $407,863, of which the school district has pledged to pay $150,000. The council approved the measure, with the stipulation that it can secure financing for the project.
- Accepted a bid from Pump and Power Equipment of Lenexa to replace the Fourth Street lift station near the Tonganoxie fire station. The company's quote was $43,280.
- Approved paying $2,376 to Ingram's magazine for inclusion of a Tonganoxie community profile in the magazine, which is a Leavenworth County regional publication. Cheryl Hanback, a chamber of commerce board member, told the council the chamber would be interested in working with the city on the Tonganoxie page, which will be a full-color profile page.
- Heard from Hanback about her business, which designs Web sites. She expressed interest in revamping the city's Web site. City Administrator Mike Yanez said two other Web designers also have contacted him about a new Web site. He said the city would be seeking proposals for a site upgrade in the coming weeks.
- Accepted infrastructure plans for Jackson Heights phase II and Timber Hill Farms' first phase.
- Approved cereal malt beverage license renewals for B&J Country Mart, B&J BP gasoline station, G&P Country Market, Petro and Pantry, Daniel R. Hipsher (Daniel's BBQ), Harry Krouse Jr. (Corky's restaurant) and Kess-Wett Inc. (Mo's Pizza). Cereal malt beverage is more commonly known as "3.2 beer."
- Discussed taking down lights on downtown trees after the holidays. Council members discussed taking the lights down before St. Patrick's Day, preferably by March 1, although a specific date wasn't picked. Yanez said the city would "play it by ear."