by Deb Hammond
Christmas came a little early for some employees of the City of Parkville at Tuesday night’s Board of Alderman meeting, with pay raises neatly wrapped in the 2012 budget.
The 2012 budget for the city grew 1.8% over the 2011 budget. City administrator Shannon Thompson stated to the board she was happy with the budget because the city did not have to “lay off” any staff.
A comparison of salaries between the 2011 and 2012 budgets reveal significant salary increases for a few employees and smaller across-the-board salary increases for the rest of city staff. The 2012 salaries total $1,668,558 compared to the 2011 salaries of $1,572,971, an increase of $95,587.
Several city employees will receive a raise of over 10% beginning Jan. 1.
Thompson will see her annual salary jump from $77,500 to $83,000, an increase of 7%. City comptroller Kapina Williamsen's salary at the beginning of 2011 was $40,000. In the new budget, she will now have a salary of $55,000.
Parks director Tom Barnard will see his salary jump from $41,133 to $46,300 for 2012, an increase of about 13%.
Police Chief Kevin Chrisman will see an increase from $70,000 annually to $77,000, a 10% hike.
Captain Kevin Davis will see his salary jump from $52,000 to $60,000, an increase of 15%.
Community development secretary Tracy Sisney's salary will rise from $23,068 to $28,000. That’s an increase of 21%.
As for the rest of the city staff, every position will receive a raise beginning at the first of the year ranging from 2% to 12%.
A point of contention for Alderman Marc Sportsman was the city's use of the Fewson Trust Fund. Sportman raised his concern that the city was not following intent of the trust fund. Sportsman stated that the Fewson Trust Fund was not intended to finance the city's budget.
Alderman Jim Brooks stated that the trustees were working on the guidelines for use of the trust funds.
Richardson informed the board that he believes the trustees will be supportive of the city borrowing money from the fund as the city will pay the fund back with interest.
The trustees for the Fewson Trust are Richardson, Brooks and city treasurer Steve Berg. Richardson said the fund will make more money with the city paying interest on any loans than it would in a simple savings account.
The 2012 budget passed with only Sportsman voting against.
Prior to the vote on the 2012 budget, the board was expected to accept the 2010 audit from the certified public accounting firm of Bruce D. Culley. To the surprise of the city administrator Shannon Thompson, the audit was not yet final due to some additional work yet to be done by the city's collector, Kapina Williamsen. Williamsen, who was not available during the presentation of the 2010 audit findings to the b.oard to answer questions. Williamsen was also not present during the 2012 budget vote.
Mayor Gerry Richardson asked Thompson if she was aware the audit was not yet final and Thompson responded, “It’s news to me.”
Thompson promised the board she would get in touch with Williamsen to get their questions answered. A vote to accept the audit was postponed until the next board meeting.
Pastor Rick Deason of the New Covenant Baptist Church requested the board consider a reduction in the minimum setback of 300 feet required between a church and any establishment selling alcohol. The church is interested in selling a portion of its property on the southeast corner of 9 Highway and 45 Highway.
The church is seeking a change in the current code in order for the property to be more marketable to a wider range of businesses. Alderman Chris Fisher raised concerns for the residents of Pine Crest that purchased their homes relying on the current setback, ensuring they wouldn't have a liquor store on the corner of their neighborhood.
The board was assured the property in question is already buffered by Bank Liberty.
Alderman Scott McRuer suggested staff consider a variance for the setback instead of changing the code for the entire city. The community development department will work with the church to come up with a solution.
In other board news: Police Chief Chrisman announced the second annual Shop with a Cop Program will happen on Sunday, Dec. 18 at Walmart, where seven families with 17 kids will be able to shop for Christmas.
“It is an opportunity for the children to bond with the officers.” Chrisman said donations for the program are still coming into the special account at Commerce bank.
Kenny Parrish, one of the organizers of the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot, presented a check for $1,500 to the Parkville Nature Sanctuary.
Parrish reported they had over 2,400 participants at this year's event. This enabled the group to also make a donation of $1,500 to the Friends of Parkville Animal Shelter.
The city approved Alliance Water Resources to continue running the city's wastewater treatment plant, with an 18% cost increase to the city.