Fayette approves pay raises

Fayette approves pay raises



Janell Bradley
Contributing Writer



In approving the Finance Committee's reports from January, the Fayette City Council agreed to a 2.5 percent cost-of-living allowance for City employees beginning July 1. The FY15 total tax asking is estimated at $14.61, or 57-cents less than the current year. IPERS rates will remain the same in FY15.

The City will continue to pay 75 percent of eligible employees' health insurance premiums. An increase of 6.65 percent in premiums is expected in March 2014.

A full report on the next fiscal year budget will be considered by the council at its Feb. 18 meeting, with a public hearing on adoption set for March 3.

As part of budget discussions, the committee agreed that 30 percent of the local options sales tax allocation will be used to repay the Bolger Fund in the 10th year for the rec trail and sports complex, and the remaining 70 percent will be divided between police and streets, with 30 percent to police and 40 percent to streets.

Additionally, City Administrator Christie Dennis explained that since the ambulance loan was paid off to the Bolger Fund, the debt service levy will only be used to repay for the 2011 fire tanker, so the levy will go down.

Dennis also suggested the City put a utility franchise fee for gas and electric service in place, in lieu of the 1 percent local option sales tax. She reported that 67 Iowa cities presently use the utility franchise fee. Citizens now pay a 1 percent local option sales tax on utilities, but the City will recoup more of the collections as the franchise fees go directly to the city rather than to Des Moines, where the fees are divided and then reallocated after the LOST formula is applied.

When it met Feb. 3, the council approved a resolution to adopt a revenue purpose statement of 1 percent on franchise utility fees, beginning July 1. The resolution relates to fees for Alliant Energy and Black Hills Energy.

In other Finance Committee discussion, the City is budgeting $130,000 to resurface Big Rock Road, but the work can't be done until the sludge relating to the lagoon project is hauled out due to the weight of the trucks used for that work.

Councilmember Patty Nefzger chairs the Finance Committee. Other council persons serving are Kris McGrane and Richard Patrick.

Also at the Feb. 3 meeting, Councilmember Dan Boberg requested that two items be added to the agenda: street parking after 2 a.m. and parking across sidewalks, topics discussed by the council earlier.

Boberg said he rode with the snowplow driver Sunday morning, and there were some vehicles parked so that they prohibited snow removal.

Boberg, who is on the Safety Committee stated that sidewalks were not designed for cars to be parked across, but for pedestrian use. He suggested that better communication to residents, particularly renters of properties in Fayette, would resolve the problem. It was also mentioned that landlords need to provide off-street parking.

Regarding cars not being moved from city streets between 3 and 6 a.m. when snow removal is taking place, Police Chief Brad Gardner said an average six tickets are being written on weekend nights.

Mayor Andrew Wenthe suggested that college students be advised of ordinances related to parking, via flyers in their student mailboxes.

In yet other business, the council agreed to a public hearing Tuesday, Feb. 18, regarding the granting of a 25-year nonexclusive electric franchise with Alliant Energy.

The council learned that children participating in the “S.H.I.N.E.” home-school group are planning a re-enactment of the Orphan Train at the Fayette Opera House in May. The Orphan Train's stop in Fayette plays an important role in the city's history, as nine children took the stage at the opera house, hoping to find families with whom they could live.

The event is Saturday, May 3, at 2 p.m., which is the actual anniversary date of the Orphan Train's stop in the city.

The next meeting of the council will be Tuesday, Feb. 18, as Monday is Presidents’ Day. 



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