Passed by a margin of two to one in favor of the raises, Council member Viv Sade was the lone dissenting vote. Sade made it clear in previous meetings that she was against any kind of pay raise due to the current economic climate. She said she thought the employees do a great job, but this just wasn’t the time for a raise.
Council President Frank Kessler thought different. He said that they could afford the pay hikes because the Town manages its finances differently from the State. “The State budget is a bit different,” said Kessler. “They depend on income taxes a lot more than towns.” The Town generally gives out between 3-5% annual increases.
Board member John Hart, who also works for the Town as a deputy marshal, made the motion to accept the 2010 salary ordinance. Kessler seconded. The vote ended two- one with Sade against.
In other Council news:
• The council also voted to proceed with the planned southeast annexation project.
The annexation area is primarily made up of the businesses on the southeast side of Town including C&A Tool, Egolf’s IGA, The Ramble Inn, CVS and more.
The project, started on July 15, has moved along nearly without a hitch, though the toughest part of the timeline is yet to come. The Council has had meetings with the business owners explaining the implications of the annexation and what that would mean to their tax bills. The businesses have until February 22, 2010 to file a remonstration against the proposal. If the remonstration is filed, a judge will have to decide the outcome of the annexation.
Council member Sade questioned Kristi Sturtz from Sturtz Public Management Group about what would happen if the Council postponed the vote. Sade said that she was still in favor of the annexation, but didn’t want to alienate the businesses. Kurtz told Sade that if they delayed the vote, the Town would not receive the tax revenue for 2010.
President Frank Kessler told the Council that he had spoken with a number of townspeople and that they gave him two responses. “I thought they were already in town” and, “Why aren’t they in town?”
Sade agreed saying that she wanted to move forward and that she didn’t want to keep charging the same 600 water customers for everything.
The Council voted 3-0 to move forward with the ordinance.
• Waste Water Treatment Supervisor Bob Hyatt told the Council that he was looking for a local farmer that would allow the Town to dispose of sludge from the waste water plant. Hyatt said that they needed roughly a 25-acre parcel to spread it on. He said that the sludge is perfectly safe and will not hurt the environment. Contact Hyatt at 693-2943 for more information.
The next regular scheduled meeting is on December 2 at 6:30 p.m. in the Town Hall.