Tonasket City Council approves salaries and benefits for 2010

TONASKET – The salaries and benefit for city employees were approved along with the 2010 budget during the Tonasket City Council meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 22.

Ordinance number 676, establishing the salary ranges for all full time city employees, currently employed and those with a hire date subsequent to January 2010, was passed first.

“After review and discussion the City Council has determined it appropriate to adopt salary ranges for each office, position, or job classification for all city employees currently employed and those with a hire date subsequent to January, 2010,” the ordinance states.

The ordinance then has four sections.

“As a part of the city’s annual salary ordinance, the salary ranges and adjustments for each position or job classification as set forth in Exhibit A attached hereto and incorporated herein as though fully set forth, is hereby approved,” section one states. “Salary adjustments for longevity are not included in Exhibit A and existing resolutions and/or ordinances providing for longevity adjustments to salary and wages shall only apply to existing/current employees.”

Section two, which was added into the ordinance during the meeting, states that the city council has the flexibility to apply an additional percent increase for a Cost of Living Adjustment “if the Consumer Price Index shows an increase, the schedule can be adjusted upward easily and if there is no increase in the CPI, no COLA is awarded according to the Council’s wishes.”

Section three states that any resolution or ordinance or portions thereof in conflict with this ordinance are hereby repealed. The final section of the ordinance simply states that it will go into affect once the mayor approves and signs it and five days after the publication of the ordinance. This ordinance was approved by Council Members Connie Maden, Jill Vugteveen and Julianna Griffin. Council Member Jean Ramsey voted against the ordinance while Council Member Joyce Fancher did not vote as she was acting in her capacity as the Mayor Pro Tem in Mayor Patrick Walter’s absence.

The council then voted on Resolution No. 2009-13 “a resolution establishing a longevity pay plan for full time employees of the City of Tonasket hired after January 1, 2010.”

“Whereas, the City of Tonasket City Council desires to adopt, in recognition of longevity, and as an incentive to continued employment, a plan of payment to full time, regular employees based on number of years of continuous service to the city,” the resolution states. “Whereas, the City of Tonasket City Council previously adopted Resolution 2008-12 establishing a longevity pay plan for full time employees of the city and it has been determined that in the best interest of the city that a new plan should be adopted for employees hired after January 1, 2010”

The new longevity plan provides that employees who work for the city continuously for 10 through 15 years will receive a pay raise of $50 per month, employees who work continuously for 16 through 24 years will receive a $65 per month raise and employees who work continuously for 25 or more years will receive a $75 per month raise.

Maden and Griffin voted for the resolution while Vugteveen and Ramsey voted against. As Mayor Pro Tem, Fancher then broke the tie, voting in favor of the resolution.

The council then approved Ordinance No. 675, which adopted the budget for 2010.

“The budget and salaries for the various departments for the needs and operations of the City of Tonasket for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2010 is hereby fixed and determined in accordance with copy therefore now filed in the office of the City Clerk and by this reference made a part thereof, at the fund level listed below,” the ordinance states.

The total budget amount is $2,679,668.34. All departments have equal revenues and expenditures. The current expense fund has $679,540.12, the city street fund has $83,552.88, the cemetery operating fund has $14,600, the cemetery improvement fund has $10,250, the Gerhard operating fund has $8,150, the stadium tax fund has $20,050, the criminal justice fund has $32,375, the City Hall/City Park reserve fund has $8,100, the cumulative police fund has $7,826, the cumulative building fund has $6,696, the capital improvement fund has $46,300, the water-sewer reserve fund has $435,577.63, the city street reserve fund has $6,000, the water fund has $400,540, the sewer fund has $611,200, the water bond redemption fund has $181,182.66 and the sewer bond redemption fund has $127,728.05. The budget was approved in a 3-1 decision with Ramsey against.

Finally, the council was presented with Walter’s final budget message.

“The City of Tonasket continues to operate in a fiscally conservative manner while striving to maintain a high level of service for our citizens. The proposed budget for 2010 reaffirms this while at the same time looking to the future. The proposed budget reflects the economic times,” Walter wrote. “At this time there are no plans for an increase in water and sewer rates as rates were increased in June of 2009. Department Heads are diligent in watching the expenditures in their departments. They have continued to look for the best value for the money and are not being frivolous in their expenditures. They have informed the Council about the long term needs for their Departments.

“Parks are an integral part of our community and a beautiful part of our City. Time and costs to keep these spaces inviting are becoming more as our parks grow,” Walter continues. “As I complete my final budget message, I am proud to say that the City has completed several important projects. The B3 Skate Park and BMX Track were completed in 2009. This was a long project hat started approximately 10 years ago and I am glad to see it finalized. The Salmon Viewing Platform, which added a new dimension to Chief Tonasket Park was also completed in 2009. The Airport Layout Plan and a Capital Facilities Plan were also completed this year.

“There are stimulus funds available and the City has a chance to procure some of them, but it will take planning for the future,” Walter finishes. “It is incumbent upon the Council and new Mayor to look forward for the City.”

The next City Council meeting, which will be the first for new Mayor Patrick Plumb, will be on Tuesday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. in City Hall.