Emmetsburg non-union employees will receive a 3-percent pay raise, beginning in the fiscal year 2014-15. Council member acted on the recommendation of the Finance, Ordinance &?Personnel Committee at their Monday night meeting. In addition, the city will cover the $14.25 per month health insurance taxes and fees for employees.
"We recommend paying the health insurance taxes and fees for the employees only," said Councilman Brian Campbell, committee chair. "If we covered everyone on insurance (spouses and family members) it would cost the city over $8,000 a year."
Campbell also reported that the labor contract had been ratified with union personnel. "The only change from last year is a 46-cents per hour raise for the 2014-15 fiscal year. This is a one year contract."
Candy Brotherton appeared before the council to discuss the removal of trees on the community center site.
"I am concerned about the grove of oak trees that will disappear for the community center," she said. "Can the plans be modified for the trees to enhance the building?"
"It bothers all of us. Some of those trees are over 100 years old," said City Administrator John Bird. "The center could be physically located in the parking lot, but then we would have to remove trees for parking in the other area."
There are 21 oak trees and 21 cedar trees on the community center site that will be removed.
"We should take them down now," said Councilman Tony Kauten. "We have learned that when the community center is built, the root system of the trees will be damaged and the trees will become unstable. Ultimately, the trees would not make it."
"You are not the only one to express concern," added Bird. "Unfortunately, the healthiest trees are where the building would be."
Kauten added that there are plans to plant new trees on the site as well.
Council members approved the first reading of an ordinance to create a Community Center Board. The seven member board would include: one representative from Emmetsburg City Council, one representative of Community Development Corporation, one representation of the Emmetsburg Recreation Board, and one representative from the Five Island Golf Board. The other three members will be at-large members from the community. Each representative will be appointed by the Mayor and ratified by the City Council. Members will serve three-year terms. The board shall meet as often as it deems necessary to oversee the operation of the Community Center.