After reviewing revenue generated by two small increases to sewer rates during 2009 an 2010, city council voted unanimously Monday to delay the next scheduled raise of $2.50 until January.
“We are very close to where we want to be revenue-wise,” said Councilman Tom Schmidt. “Barring any unforeseen emergency, the monthly revenues should continue to build at a satisfactory rate until the end of the year. I think we can generate the funds we need without raising fees at this time.
“We can review it in January and see if we are still making satisfactory revenues in the sewer account.”
Another break for residents may come Aug. 9 when the city opens its annual budget hearing at 7 p.m. in the city building.
If approved, the budget will lower the mill levy slightly — about half a mill — going from 72.860 down to 72.386. Council members have held several budget meetings and reviewed expenses line by line.
Council members will forgo their salaries for the rest of this year and all of next year. Departments will trim their budgets by 5 percent for the rest of 2010 and another 5 percent for 2011. All travel, meetings, conferences, and memberships — except for those required for certification — have been removed from the budget.
As part of the 2011 budget cuts, overtime pay will not be a part of an employee’s paycheck. The council approved a plan for employees to use compensatory time for scheduled overtime work. Unscheduled or emergency overtime work still will be eligible for overtime wages.
In other business:
- Council met with Police Chief Bruce Burke in two executive sessions to discuss personnel and upon return to open meeting approved offering a position with the Peabody Police Department to Justin Weerts for $13 an hour. Weerts will serve a probationary period before attending the police academy in November, then serve another probationary period of 90 days after his graduation.
- A request by Burke for training in order to meet mandatory annual certification requirements for department members was approved. The sessions are free.
- Kendall Winter was given permission to host a baseball tournament Aug. 13, 14, and 15 at city park. Teams from other towns will pull travel trailers into the park and camp overnight August 13 and 14. Winter’s local team will clean up the park.
- Council members agreed to pay KPERS $947.17 to rectify an error created when Burke came to work for the city. Burke had participated in the KPERS program when he worked for Marion County sheriff. When he came to Peabody as a police officer in 2000, he was told he would not qualify for KPERS until he had been on the job for a year. His KPERS account should have been transferred, not interrupted. To rectify the situation, Burke will buy back his lost KPERS contribution from his first year as a city employee. The city will pay the total contribution up front and Burke will repay the city at a rate of $40 per month.
- Pool manager Beth Peter and council members agreed to close the pool early as a cost-saving measure. The pool will close from Aug. 23. It will be reopened for the weekend of Aug. 28 and 29 and Labor Day weekend.
- Public works director Darren Pickens told the council a pool chlorinator will be delivered this week. Plans to purchase a new one before the next pool season were discussed, but no action was taken.
- Council member Pam Lamborn was added to the council’s water committee.