Wednesday, 06 April 2016 06:02

Planning, public works seek positions in upcoming FY budget

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Councilman Wayne Smith studies numbers during the session. Councilman Wayne Smith studies numbers during the session.

The city's planning and public works departments are each seeking new personnel in the upcoming fiscal year.

Planning and development Director Kelly Lasky is requesting a city planner while public works Director Larry Chalker is requesting three entry-level positions.

The department heads made the requests during a budget work session held Tuesday afternoon.

Another budget session with the police and fire department will be held this afternoon at 3 the first floor conference room of city hall. One scheduled for Thursday has been cancelled.

Lasky noted in a memo to City Manager Joseph Scherer she is seeking to have the full-time planner position reinstated in the financial plan for the upcoming fiscal year.

The position has gone unfunded since March of 2009 due to lay-off, she said in the document. She is requesting $54,088.52, which represents a base salary of $40,000 and the remainder made up of benefits. “The department requests that the city council reinstate funding for the position of planner to assist the director in ordinance administration, enforcement and inspections,” she wrote.

She noted current levels of service are low due to one person — herself — being responsible for handling all land use requests. “Operation on a complaint basis creates the perception that staff does not treat everyone the same — if my neighbor can do it, why can't I?”

She said the department relies on either existing contractor, developer or owner's prior knowledge to obtain zoning permits. “Existing staff members have made every effort to respond to complaints, however, as a result, they are pulled away from their assigned job duties.”

A staff planner, she noted, “will improve the overall efforts to achieve code compliance through active inspections to improve the community appearance and preserve property values. Funding of this position will allow the director the time needed for long-range planning efforts and department management.”

Meanwhile, Chalker requested three entry-level positions.

“Some say we are nine people short,” Chalker said, while his own analysis shows the department is 15 people short.

He told council if the positions are funded the people hired would be responsible for running lawn mowers and doing other work required.

They would be paid $10.55 an hour. He is seeking approximately $98,000 for the positions, which includes fringe benefits.

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