by Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer
The Royalton City Council adopted revisions to the current pay scale and six-step plan to include four additional steps, Monday. The only dissenting vote came from Council Member Ron Verley.
Mayor Andrea Lauer and Council Member Al Libke studied the current plan and compared it to area cities.
“We noticed that there were other cities in our area with similar step systems with more steps,” Lauer said.
“Pierz has a 15-step plan and Motley has 10 steps,” Libke said.
Currently, an employee can receive a step increase every year for six years before reaching the top of the plan. The additional four steps will be added in alternate years, meaning that an employee will reach the top step in 14 years.
“Most of our employees are at step six,” said Lauer. “We had to decide, ‘do we move forward or do we not move forward’ and how would we do that?”
Verley expressed his thoughts that the additional steps are not needed, particularly since employees receive annual increases even after reaching the top step.
For the past several years, in addition to step increases, employees have also received a 3 percent cost-of-living increase, a cost-of-living allowance (COLA).
“We need to take a closer look at these increases every year,” Libke said. “The COLAs should not be assumed or automatic.”
The new step plan calls for a certain percentage of increase per year.
“The step plan outline was approved without specific amounts in place,” Lauer said. “The Council will determine the percentage of the increase during the budget process.”
Other business that came before the Royalton City Council included:
• Approving the cost of delivering the new fire truck from Maine, not to exceed $3,500 and contingent on obtaining two more quotes for the service;
• Approving Mayor Andrea Lauer, City Clerk Carol Madsen and Fire Chief Duane Bursey to be the three municipal trustee members of the Fire Relief Association, according to state statute;
• Tabling a discussion of the Fire Relief pension plan until September;
• Approving the addition of Adam Meemken to the Rescue Squad. His training will be covered by the St. Cloud Hospital, where he works during the day;
• Approving Sean Flahave as the newest firefight, contingent on completion of training and a physical exam;
• Approving the participation of two members of the Tree Board at a recertification training in Brainerd Sept. 4, at a cost of $60 per person;
• Approving the county’s request to sell the former “antique building,” now a tax-forfeited property, on the corner of Centre Street and Highway 10;
• Discussing options regarding the widening of North Driftwood Street prior to installing a sidewalk between Centre Street and Ivy Street;
• Approving liquor license renewals for: on-sale, off-sale and Sundays for Craig’s Sports Bar and Grill, Scotty’s Log Bar and the 10 Spot Bar and Lounge; on-sale and Sundays for American Legion Post 137 and 3.2 off-sale for EZ Stop;
• Setting a deadline of Jan. 31, 2014 for property at 109 N. Cedar St. to be brought up to code, preventing it from being condemned and demolished;
• Approving the closing of Ivy Street on Wednesday, Aug. 28 from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m. for the annual Elementary School Open House;
• Accepting a big from Commitment Building Systems for $7,985 to replace the fire hall roof. Supplies will be purchased through Royalton Lumber;
• Approving the addition of stop signs at the intersections of Cedar Street and Third Street S. and Cedar Street and Seventh Street S.;
• Scheduling a budget meeting at Monday, Aug. 19, at 6 p.m.; and
• Setting Tuesday, Oct. 8, at 7:15 p.m. for a public hearing on the outdoor music policy. Craig’s, Scotty’s Log Bar and the 10 Spot have requested to extend closing to midnight for some events.
The next Royalton City Council meeting will be Tuesday, Sept. 3 at 7 p.m. at the city complex.