LA CYGNE – In a job market that forces employers to be more competitive, the La Cygne City Council has taken a step that it hopes will draw prospective employees. Instead of plugging in a cost-of-living increase into the previous salary schedule for city employees, the council essentially scrapped it and approved a new schedule with higher starting salaries.
The new starting salaries for city employees range from $15.50 per hour for a starting laborer position to $25 per hour for the public works superintendent, police chief, and city clerk.
City Clerk Jodi Wade said the new starting wages represented a substantial adjustment with one beginning position for a person with some experience increasing by nearly 25%. The pay scale for current employees added years of service and other factors in determining current salaries, which the council approved at the Jan. 4 meeting.
Going forward, Wade said, the council will review the salary brackets every December to make needed adjustments. She also said that the starting wages were based on information collected from other cities similar to La Cygne.
In addition to collecting salary information, officials from other cities were surveyed about expected increases in costs of contract services and commodities as well as salaries. She said expected increases of those three cost categories ranged from 10% to 15%, so in calculating the city’s budget for 2023, she calculated a 13% increase.
That put the city over the revenue-neutral budget amount by about $20,000, but the city was only able to keep the amount that low by not moving any money into the reserve fund.
In other business, the council:
• Learned from Public Works Superintendent Dan Nasalroad that the plans for the city’s new fire station should be completed soon and that the project will go out for bid sometime in February.
• Learned in a report by Codes Officer Allison Fox that she had received several complaints about people living in sheds in the city and that she was continuing to investigate. She also reported that one of the mobile homes in the trailer park had been demolished on site and that the remaining three would be demolished as well.
• Approved a payment to Nowak Construction Co. of more than $678,000 on the sewer rehabilitation project. Nasalroad said that, if favorable weather continues, the project could be done as early as the end of May, several weeks ahead of the original estimate of May. He also reported that where Novak’s crews had dug up alleys, they would be repaired in a like manner with gravel being replaced with gravel and grass being replaced with grass.
• Learned that a couple of pipes at the municipal swimming pool burst during the below-zero weather in December and would need to be replaced.
• Voted to rescind a motion made made last month about allocating remaining funds from 2022, and voted to move 80% of remaining 2022 funds into capital improvement reserve and 20% into equipment reserves.