Council Committee Diary: November 2021

Following is a summary of committee work from the month of November 2021.

Most council agenda items originate in one of council’s standing or ad hoc committees. You can learn more about council committees here and find meeting times and agendas here.

  • Finance Committee: At its Nov. 1 meeting, the committee discussed the issue of providing an allowance for work boots for certain city departments. The committee was advised that IRS rules require such items to be taxed as compensation to the employee. No further action was taken. The committee also approved a proposal by the city treasurer to outsource mailing of utility bills to reduce costs.
  • Public Safety Committee: At its November 17 meeting, the committee learned that EPD tentatively plans to purchase Motorola body-worn and dashboard cameras. A meeting with area businesses is planned to discuss a new enforcement strategy for off-premise shopping carts. The police chief presented information about a radar sign he would like to purchase; it can be hung from signposts by a single staff member and records speed information for analysis. The need for higher compensation for the communications specialist and sworn officers was discussed. There is a significant pay disparity between the city and the county sheriff’s department.
  • Personnel Committee: Meeting November 16, the committee discussed how temporary assignment of additional duties should be compensated and how to adjust the city hall schedule for the holidays (current policy is not cleanly applicable to years when Christmas and New Year’s Day fall on weekends). The committee determined that pro-rating benefits for full-time employees who work less than 40 hours in a week is not practical.
  • Rules & Ordinances Committee: The committee, meeting November 10, decided not to recommend that council prohibit “street legal” UTVs on city streets. The committee also worked on reorganizing city laws and penalties regarding parking/standing/stopping violations and recommended that council require that the Board of Zoning Appeals meet only quarterly (and as needed for appeals), rather than monthly.
  • Municipal Properties Committee: Meeting November 3, the committee worked through the recommendations of Bryson Van Nostrand, an architect, concerning prioritization of city hall projects in light of council’s dedication of ARPA funds to such projects. First priorities are related to the fire alarm system, accessibility (especially bathrooms), and repairs to the facade to reduce the danger that pieces could fall onto passersby.
  • Special Hiring Committee: The committee finalized an updated job description for the operations manager position (especially as necessitated by the decision to shift administrative oversight of the water and sewer systems to their respective boards).
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