The Vader City Council unanimously approved a 2013 budget with funding for a reformed Vader Police Department and without pay rate and hour increases for city employees during their Thursday meeting.
However, multiple conditions have been attached to Police Department and budget approval, all of which are expected to be addressed in the next two months.
Firstly, an interlocal agreement to establish cooperative police services between Napavine, Winlock, Toledo and Vader still needs to be established prior to offering Warm Springs, Ore., Officer Lonny McEwen the position of Police Chief.
Smith has said the pursuit of such a cooperative was well received by the mayors of the respective cities, but a draft agreement to present to respective councils has not been completed as expected. Smith said City Attorney Jim Buzzard had not been able to complete the draft by Dec. 17, but expects to deliver a contract to City Hall by the end of this month.
Secondly, because McEwen has reportedly stated he will not accept the position of Chief without the cooperative in place, the council voted to extend the contract for police services through Winlock by 60 days, which they said should be enough time to make a more informed decision on the matter of police services.
The current contract for services will expire Dec. 31 and Winlock’s council would have to approve any extensions, though an emergency meeting would have to be held as their next regular meeting is scheduled for Jan. 14.
Winlock Police Chief Terry
Williams stated the decision to seek an extension of the contract placed too many assumptions on his department and his council, adding he could not say with certainty if they would approve a contract extension.
Extending the contract under its current terms would cost Vader approximately $6,400 per month.
Thirdly, passage of the 2013 budget required an ordinance be introduced within 60 days to define an employee pay scale and the requirements needed to move up said scale.
The concept had been introduced by Council Member Lois Wilson, who said she was not against pay raises for the city’s three employees but was against undefined pay raises.
It had been proposed the City Clerk, Billing Clerk and Public Works Employee receive $1 more per hour, which Smith argued would encourage them to stay with Vader instead of seek employment elsewhere. Other council members indicated they supported Wilson’s strategy and discussed the possibility of offering raises after such an ordinance was passed, but no guarantees were made.
The issue of increasing hours from 15 to 20 per week for the Billing Clerk and Public Works Employee failed during the budget vote and received no further discussion or action afterward. Smith had said the increases were intended to keep City Hall open longer and accomplish more Public Works projects.
After passing the budget, council members voted to approve an increase in sewer rates from $50 to $53 per month to take effect next year. The increase had been to accommodate larger anticipated sewer revenues in the 2013 budget, and passage of the increase was opposed only by Council Member Janet Charlton.
The next council meeting had been scheduled for Jan. 5 at 6:30 p.m. in City Hall. The date was changed due to the observance of New Year’s Day Jan 1. Those with questions or in need of accommodations can call (360) 295-3222.