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City employees get merit pay raise

1/3/2014

By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT

mkenwright@dailynews.net

The Hays City Commission met Thursday for a meeting and work session.

The first meeting addressed the commission's agenda from Dec. 26 because last week's meeting was canceled. Mayor Kent Steward and Henry Schwaller IV did not attend either meeting.

The three present commissioners approved a 1-percent merit pay raise for city employees that will cost approximately $97,500 with benefits included. The city manager, city commissioners, and select part-time, seasonal and volunteer personnel are not eligible for the raise. The general fund, which draws 60 percent of its money from the sales tax, covers $61,850 of the expense.

"We did a salary study earlier this year that showed that we were within the market when it comes to salaries," said Paul Briseno, assistant city manager. "What we did is we looked at cities within the same size as well as local employers."

The 1-percent merit pay raise mirrors trends in other areas, and it almost matches the rising cost of living, he said.

In other commission business:

* The city's boundaries were redefined because three properties were annexed in 2013.

* Dawne Leiker, an employee at Fort Hays State University and former Hays Daily News reporter, and Patricia Levy were appointed to the Sister Cities Advisory Board.

Commissioners also had a work session to discuss other matters.

* Eric Burks, president of North Central Kansas Technical College, shared NCKTC's progress report. The institution leases the former Army Reserve facility from the city in return for contributing to public projects and construction.

Burks touted the college's national rankings and help with building a podium for the city commission's chambers, working with the city's water conservation efforts and future plans to install lights at Sunrise Park.

The college's lease expires in May, and the city commission will consider re-signing a two-year lease.

* I.D. Creech, director of public works, previewed possible updates to parking regulations.

The potential changes would give the city flexibility to consider an alternative method for calculating a site's required parking spaces according to actual occupancy rather than a building's size.