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City employees, first responders
get an early Christmas present

by Dolores Hamilton
City employees and members of the volunteer fire department will have a little extra cash for Christmas this year.

Monday night the city council established policies for longevity and attendance stipends for all municipal employees and members of the city’s volunteer fire department.

The council then approved amending the budget for this fiscal year to allow the city to issue a one-time pay incentive to its employees and members of the fire department.

The amount city employees will receive will be based on their months of continuous service, and members of the volunteer fire department will be paid based on their donated time for both firefighting and emergency medical services.

The plan was presented by Councilor Lori Shierry at a previous meeting. Shierry pointed out that the city had been able to put quite a bit of money in the reserves because of several things that happened during the year that were unusual. These included some departments working understaffed for a good portion of the year, delay in hiring a replacement for the public works director, payment of back franchise fees, sales tax increase due to audits and rent revenue.

Shierry said when the council was working on the budget last summer, they didn’t know they would have the extra money and were not able to give raises to theemployees.

Due to continuing drought conditions and the potential threat of fires, the council reinstated the city’s burn ban. A story listing the temporary restrictions called for can be found in this week’s issue of the Leader.

An increase in fees charged for residential solid waste collectiondisposal services was approved.

When Councilor Mark Raby made a motion to accept the increase, it died for lack of a second. “So the city is going to lose money on this?” asked City Manager Mike Price.

Price explained that IESI is going up on their rates January 1, and the city would lose money if they didn’t increase the city’s fees. The monthly fee would go from $12 to $14, which would pick up IESI’s rate increase plus the additional fee to cover city expenses.

The council voted again and the measure passed, 3-1, with Stephanie Wooten voting against it.

Modification to the tax abatement agreement between the city and S-5! Manufacturing was approved.

S-5! had requested the city modify the tax abatement agreement with them to allow additional time to the commencement and completion dates for their new building in the city’s Industrial Park.

In the new agreement, S-5! will begin construction on or before April 30, 2013 and the building will be completed by Dec. 31.

In other business, the council voted to abandon seven and a half feet of the west side of the 75-foot right-of-way in the 700 block of North Bond St.

According to Price, the paved portion of Bond has never been centered and has shifted to the east, creating a larger than normal amount of unusable space between the property line on the west side of Bond St. and the building limit line.

A public hearing was held to consider a request from Rhonda and Billy Armstrong for a 90 day extension to abate a storage building on their property at 514 W. Alameda.

At their Oct. 22 meeting, the city council found the structure to be a substandard building and gave the owners 45 days to abate it. In addition, six vehicles and the cab of another on the property were found to meet the criteria of junked vehicles in the city’s Code of Ordinances, and the Armstrongs were given 45 days to bring them up to code.

Mrs. Armstrong told the council that due to her husband’s health problems and their lack of money, they had been unable to do much work on the building until last Saturday,which was the last of the 45 days alloted for the abatement.

After considering this, the council voted to deny the request for an extension.

In the second public hearing to consider the condition of a vacant house located at 310 East Ruby St., the council was told that the front door continues to be left open and many times kids are playing on the property. Price said the house is in fair shape, but not secure.

The owner, Dan Dilts, was given 45 days to correct the problem.

After a discussion, the council’s annual retreat and goals planning session will be held Jan. 19 at the Prestyn.