Discussions continue on workforce

The Ely City Council held its meeting last Thursday and there was not an open seat in the room, with approximately 35 to 40 people in attendance. Many were there to show support for the agenda item recommending the grandfathering in of the five recreational vehicles in place at the Apeceche Trailer Park.

Councilman Kurt Carson abstained from the vote, and the vote was approved unanimously.

Many city residents attended the meeting to speak during public comment regarding the agenda item of City Administrator Robert Switzer that was to reduce the workforce. Jim Alworth spoke as did Linda Davies, and a letter from Rick Stork was read into record by City Clerk Jennifer Lee on this particular issue.

Approval for an amended resolution 2017-13 to document the current rates for water and sewer in the city was approved unanimously.

Paul Holdaway, owner of Outwest Excavating and Grading, has a agreement with the city for recycling metals. Between 2014 and 2016, Holdaway has made an over payment to the city in the amount of $7,700.04. Holdaway appearied before the council to ask for the city to withhold that payment until the next time scrap metal is sold compared to asking for a return. Much discussion was made but no action taken.

The request to change the day and time of the city council meetings was once again placed on the agenda, discussed but no action taken.

Switzer’s agenda item was to accept a General Fund Expenditure Reduction plan that included a reduction in force affecting the General Fund became a very heated topic.

Switzer said “Let me be quite frank at our meeting last week part of the takeaway I had is that the council desires strong suggestions for ways to solve problems or issues.”

Switzer commented that the city treasurer has given a report and that this analsysis was just the beginning. “From my perspective, I will be coming with additional recommendations. The best calculation on total savings is $43,250 if the council moves forward with the plan to reduce the force with one position in parks, and a half time reduction in hours for animal control and no hiring of temporary seasonal staff for the remainder of the fiscal year.

Carson said, “The $43,000, is that taken into consideration that Cracraft (the parks and recs department head) is going to need help and we’ll have to pull another man from another department?”

Switzer replied that, that number is based solely on having two full time positions for parks. Switzer explained to the county that by moving forward with a plans like this would mean that the parks may not be mowed once a week, it may be more of a lengthy period of time.

“That’s part of your decision making on recommendations of this nature,” Switzer said.

Carson said, “I realize we need to save money, and I may be going out on a limb right now, that Mike’s is probably one of the busiest crews we got and if he’s short handed in anyway, I don’t see him surviving without  the help he has right now. “

Switzer mentioned that being in the winter season right now has perhaps made it easier looking at that department, and it’s not going to be doing the functions now that will be done later”.

City Attorney Charles Odgers spoke up by saying “as far as animal control, I have an issue relative to the interlocal agreement with the county. The agreement requires us to maintain a full time animal control officer, but in the need to reduce expenditures there may be a reduction in revenue coming in from the county as well.”

Switzer said, “I have a different opinion on that, when the county decides to help us collect per the interlocal agreement that we currently have on the past due landfill charges I’ll be concerned about having a half time position in animal control. With all due respect to the county sheriff and our friends with the county, that are trying to cooperate, I understand that but once they get serious about trying to help us with our interlocal agreement that the district attorney will help us collect with past due landfill bills and they told us their not gonna do that because they don’t have the man power, well we don’t have the man power what their contract says either.”

Carson said, “I agree we need to do something but I hate to go this route right now I really do”. Councilman Ernie Flangas spoke up and said, “I’m totally against the idea of making the dog catcher part time and that’s  very minimal amount of money in comparison to where were at we have to look at different avenues to raise the money and benefit the city. Cutting back on services is not the proper way to do it.”

No action was taken on this agenda item.

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