|Lifeguard, council wages are focal point of city meeting|
|Written by Kyle Arnoldy|
Holyoke city employee and city council compensation dominated the first Holyoke City Council meeting of the new year Tuesday, Jan. 7.
Much of the meeting’s discussion was designated toward lifeguard compensation. Council member David Churchwell first questioned if lifeguards at the Holyoke swimming pool were being underpaid.
Churchwell pointed out that lifeguards put forth a good deal of time and effort to obtain certifications for the job. While the training is paid for by the city, the employees are not compensated for time spent at training and certification sessions.
Fellow council member Scott Murray added that he felt lifeguards were underpaid for all of the responsibilities they hold, and expressed his belief they should also be paid for the time they spend at training sessions.
Council members agreed to set pay in accordance with the level of certifications employees have achieved. Upon reviewing certification levels, lifeguards with a CPR and first aid certification will now be paid $8 an hour. Hourly wages for those who attain a water safety instructor certification will be $8.25.
Earning CPR, first aid and lifeguard training certifications will cause hourly wages to jump to $8.50. Those who have CPR, first aid, lifeguard training and water safety instructor certifications will be compensated $8.75 per hour.
The majority of city employees are set to receive roughly a 3 percent increase in wages in 2014.
Council members were not as unified in their decision to raise wages for the mayor and council members.
Policies for mayor and city council wages for Wray, Julesburg, Haxtun, Yuma, Brush and Burlington were available to council members. After some discussion, the council voted 4-3 to increase the mayor’s monthly pay from $185 to $200 and council members’ pay from $125 to $150.
Churchwell, J.C. Peckham and Brian Akey voted against the raise, while Mayor Orville Tonsing, Scott Murray, Steve Moore and Kevin Scott were in favor.
Council members will vote to create a city ordinance regarding council wages at the Tuesday, Jan. 21 meeting. A public meeting to discuss and approve the ordinance for council raises is also planned for Tuesday, Feb. 4.
City Superintendent Mark Brown stated that it has been pretty quiet for city departments since the Dec. 17 meeting as they work to finish yearend inventory and reports.
Holyoke Police Chief Doug Bergstrom reported that between Dec. 12-Jan. 1, the department generated 61 calls for service. In 2013, the department handled 1,705 calls, up 38 from 2012, and pulled 185 case numbers, down 46 from 2012.
Bergstrom also informed council members that the police department has received reports of multiple vehicle tires being slashed. Six reports were made for a total of approximately 10 tires being slashed on the southwest end of town.
Bergstrom noted that the tires were slashed late Friday, Jan. 3 and into the early morning Saturday, Jan. 4. Vehicles targeted included those on the street and in driveways. Tires being slashed was also a problem in late 2012.
In other business Jan. 7, the council:
—accepted an engagement letter from Lauer, Szabo & Associates, PC for the audit of the financial statements and the preparation of the local highway finance report for 2013, which shall not exceed $10,400.
—approved a travel request for Mike Roll to attend Rocky Mountain Asphalt Conference in Denver.
—approved a purchase request from the Holyoke Police Department for four Glocks and one extra magazine for each weapon at $2,600 from Neve’s and for a new radar for the Tahoe for $2,145 plus shipping from Custom Signal.
—approved the request from Phil and Terri Biersdorfer to terminate airport hangar No. 7 lease effective Dec. 31, 2013.
—accepted Aaron Schlach-ter’s bid of $93,451 per year on a three-year lease for 316.7 total acres of city-owned farm ground two miles south of town off of Phillips County Road 18 and Highway 385.
Holyoke Enterprise January 16, 2014