The city council left most city user fees unchanged Tuesday and officially authorized a 1.8 percent increase in salaries. The council approved and passed all items on the agenda with only a few questions and no votes.
The no votes came from councilman Brook Baker. On Tuesday, Baker came into the chambers, sat down, did not discuss much, voted no several times and left abruptly when the meeting was over.
When the council got down to business, it voted 7-1 to adopt user fees for 2013-14, with Baker voting no.
The fees cover such things as opening and closing graves, building permits, equipment rentals, city bus rides and recreation center fees.
City Administrator Jim Hawks said fees are set according to what it costs to provide services, and there were few changes from last year.
The monthly fee to join the recreation center, as well as the cost of a season pass to Cody Pool, increased by a couple dollars.
A permit to build a house and garage will increase by $50, to $475. A commercial demolition permit increased by $100, to a total of $250.
In the biggest increase, fees to hook up water service lines increased by about 15 percent.
And, a new fee was added -- $300 a day to rent the portable city band shell (covered stage) and have it moved outside the city limits, plus at $150 damage deposit.
By a split vote of 5-3, the council also approved a new salary schedule.
Jim Carman, Tim Barrett and Baker voted no.
With the vote, the council approved increases of around 1.8 percent.
These are the annual salary ranges for top city officials:
• City administrator: $104,600 - $121,100.
• City finance director: $70,200 - $97,600.
• Police chief: $61,300 - $85,900.
• Fire Chief: $61,252 - $87,000.
The range depends on years of experience and job performance. Normally, an official gains one salary step every year for eight years, but they don’t all advance at that rate; it depends on the supervisor’s evaluations each year.
The city administrator hits his top pay in seven steps, compared to eight for everyone else.
Barrett asked why the fee schedule and salaries did not come before the council for consideration before the 2013-14 budget was set.
Hawks said they normally are, but this year the mayor had a conflict and couldn’t attend that meeting.
Carman asked Hawks if the city is already bound by salary contracts and Hawks said some are and others are not. Carman also asked how many city employees are not members of a union bargaining unit, and Hawks said around half.
The approval of the salaries was a formality, since they were already approved in the budget, Hawks said.
Also, on third reading, the council voted 7–1 to amend the municipal code relating to conditional uses in an A-1 agricultural transitional zone and an I-1 light industrial zone.
Baker voted no.
The amendments will allow livestock and poultry sale barns, if they are located at least a quarter-mile from any residence, whether or not the residence is occupied. Any heads of livestock cannot be kept on these sites longer than 30 days.
Carman asked if an experience brought about these changes.
Hawks said that there was a potential sale barn project that didn’t materialize, and the administration and the development department realized there was an oversight in the zoning ordinances, and this just corrected it.
Fire, building codes
Also, the three-reading rule was suspended and the International Fire Protection Code, 2012 Edition, was approved unanimously. City Fire Marshall George Lewis asked for suspension of the three-reading rule so the fire prevention code is in line with the city building code.
In other business, the council:
• Accepted a certificate of completion for a water extension district on N. Bryan, beginning at the Intersection of 15th and Bryan and running north approximately 300 feet to 16th St.
• Accepting a certificate of completion for sanitary sewer extension district along W. 19th starting in the 1900 block of West 19th and running west for approximately 375 feet.
• Forwarded the application of Christopher Jackson as liquor license manager at Pizza Hut, 1902 So. Jeffers as well as the application of Judy Hupfer as liquor license manager at Smoker Friendly, 825 So. Jeffers to the state liquor control commission with no recommendation.
Bulletin Editor George Lauby contributed to this report.