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Riverton City Council May 10

May 11, 2016 08:33AM ● Published by Briana Kelley

Riverton City council members meet to discuss the budget. Special budget meetings will be held May 17 and 19 as council members prepare to pass the budget in June. Photo courtesy of Briana Kelley

Council members started budget discussions with a bang on Tuesday night, deciding to end paper newsletters to residents and discussing a pay raise for council members. Council members unanimously voted to increase their salaries by $2,500, stating that the increase was market-driven. “We are the lowest-paid city council compared to the surrounding cities...by at least $4,000,” Stewart said.

The council also decided to save $25,000 and stop paper newsletters to residents. Instead, residents are encouraged to subscribe through email and read the newsletters online.

GENERAL BUSINESS

Mayor Bill Applegarth called the meeting to order and conducted a roll call. A full quorum was present-Councilmembers Sheldon Stewart, Trent Staggs, Tricia Tingey, Paul Wayman and Brent Johnson.

The consent agenda with two items was passed.

BUDGET DISCUSSION

The council started by passing an amendment stating that council members will not go over every line item like they have in the past but simply discuss items that council members have questions on.

Next followed a fleet discussion led by Trace Robinson, Public Works Director. Public Works are asking for more money for new fleet vehicles and maintenance. There was discussion on a point system for fleet and other vehicles. More clarification on items will be given in the future from each department. The department will save money through a lease/buy-back agreement.

The question was brought up why the Mayor has a car instead of just sharing vehicles or clocking out the mileage. Applegarth explained that he needs a car to make the trips up to the capitol and to take care of city business outside of normal operating hours. However, as for the type of car, Applegarth was indifferent. “Just have the council tell me what you want me to drive, and I will drive it,” Applegarth said.

The motion on fleet vehicles passed unanimously.

The next discussion concerned servers, hardware, firewalls, phones, software, and so forth. It is quite a bit of money but council members see investment in technology as important and saving money in human resources. The motion on no further discussion on IT items passed unanimously.

Discussion on the newsletter and social media was presented by Lance Blackwood, City Manager. He reported on Sandy City, which has found that the most cost-effective way to reach citizens is through the newsletter, even though the city directs citizens to the website. There was discussion on the best way to give residents access to the newsletter, whether through the water bill or partnering with the City Journals.

Both Stewart and Tingey are for cutting out a paper newsletter and directing residents to the website. Johnson’s district, however, relies on the newsletter. The council moved that they reduce the line item for newsletter printing from $30,000 to $5,000. The last newsletter to go out in the mail will be the June 10 newsletter. Residents will be encouraged to go online to read the newsletter.

“This is $30,000. We could save this money now,” Tingey said. The motion passed unanimously.

Lance Blackwood, City Manager, presented on travel and training in the budget. The city has tried to cut out most conferences in order to decrease expenditures. Stewart wants the city to think outside of the box on which conferences to attend and what staff and officials should get out of these conferences. Applegarth believes that the League of Cities and Towns conference is a good political opportunity and good training. The council moved unanimously to remove the line item cost for a national PIO conference.

The next item was a discussion on wages. They discussed the newer position of landscape enforcement and business licensing. Stewart brought up the unpopular conversation of wages for council members. The council members discussed the increase of time that the job demands and the growth that the city has experienced.

Tingey argued that the salary should not fall so far behind that the city has to play catch-up and then it hurts. However, the mayor resisted a pay raise for his position.

“I am very happy where I am...and I think it would be very inappropriate to increase the mayor’s salary at this time,” Applegarth said. “If the direction of the council is market-driven, which I think it should be, then I should be left out of it,” Applegarth added.

The council moved to increase their salary $2,500, contingent on council members being in the mid-range of council members in the county. They will revisit this next week. The motion passed unanimously.

Sheril Garn also spoke on applying for ZAP grants and the city’s relationship with the Arts Council. The discussion on ZAP grants and others passed 4-1 with Staggs voting no.

The motion to approve the stormwater position and close the discussion on wages and positions passed unanimously.

They then discussed Peggy Green Park. The bid to rebuild the park came back astronomically high. They are now planning on sending out a bid to demolition only and then decide what to do next fiscal year. The council motioned to make funds available for the park this next fiscal year.

The council completed their discussion on the General Fund. The Thursday, May 12 meeting was cancelled. The meeting was then adjourned after 10 p.m.

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