The Vader City Council has chosen to increase the wages of city employees with part of their funding surplus resulting from 2013’s decrease in expenditures.
The city clerk, billing clerk and part-time public works employee will all receive a raise of $0.75 per hour starting June 1, while the billing clerk and public works employee will be given eight more hours per week.
Mayor Ken Smith told the council during their Thursday meeting he wished to offer Vader’s employees a more competitive wage, stating he is very appreciative of their hard work and hoped to offer them a wage reflecting their value.
In projections calculated May 8, Smith said the increase in wages would cost around $9,000 during the remainder of 2014, and would come from roughly $36,000 in surplus funding left over from 2013.
The council had previously elected April 10 to set aside $12,000 from the surplus for expenses related the overhaul of ordinances by City Planner Rob White, who had been hired by Vader upon the advice of City Attorney Carol Morris in light of the city’s need for updated land use and zoning regulations, among other necessities.
Of the roughly $15,000 remaining in the surplus, officials have said they wish to seek out grants requiring matching funds, which the city had previously been unable to pursue without additional funding, as well as possible property acquisitions, such as the empty lot directly south of Werden Park currently owned by the Vader Assembly of God.
Smith reported the city is preparing an application for grant funding from BNSF in the amount of $12,000 for acquisition and development of the property, adding the city is prepared to put forward $5,000 itself for the project. The Assembly of God has expressed a willingness to sell the property to the city, and Smith said the grant application will be presented for official council approval at their next meeting.
In addition to acquiring property from the church, the council has also been meeting in executive session to consider the possible purchase or lease of other property in the area, though details of their discussions have not been made public in the event public knowledge may adversely affect the potential price of the property.
The next Vader City Council meeting is scheduled for June 12 at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall. Those with questions or in need of accommodations may call (360) 295-3222.