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Fulton 2018 budget available at city hall

Fulton 2018 budget available at city hall

Public hearing will be Oct. 24

October 12th, 2017 by Jenny Gray in Local News

A proposal to create a prairie restoration pilot project at Fulton's former landfill was postponed Tuesday evening when state Department of Natural Resources officials didn't get their paperwork submitted by city meeting time. The DNR and state Department of Conservation have proposed a native plants and pollinators project near a large pond on the site.

Photo by Jenny Gray /Fulton Sun.

Fulton city employees are on their way to getting raises soon.

In the offing are 3 percent raises, plus another 25 cents per hour for hourly employees.

The city will have a public hearing about the 2018 budget during the regular City Council meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 24. The 2018 expenditure budget, according to city administrator Bill Johnson, is about $39.6 million.

"We've been running at about $40 million for the last few years," he added.

The budget can be viewed at Fulton City Hall, 18 E. 4th St., during regular business hours.

Starting wages also would adjust. New employees would have a starting hourly rate of $10, up from $9.50. Additionally, firefighters would go from $9.50 an hour to $10.50 an hour, and police officers would start at $14.42 an hour, up from $13.46. Employees who stay six months would get another 10 percent raise.

"The council did a salary survey two, three years ago now," Mayor LeRoy Benton said. "It showed our hourly workers — we weren't as competitive as we wanted to be with other communities our size. We're trying to catch up the hourly workers."

In other action:

Fulton City Council members voted to not accept a resolution to enter into a contract with Local 2945 International Association of Firefighters. Two issues caught City Council members' attention: An ambiguity in terminating an employee without "just cause" and a difference in benefits from other city employees.

The city currently has no contract with firefighters. Council members Bev Gray and Richard Vaughn recused themselves from the vote and left the council chambers.

A resolution authorizing the mayor to execute an agreement with Burns and McDonnell for the design of a new lift station — for no more than $55,144 — was passed. The lift station to the city's sewer plant is failing and needs to be rebuilt.

Speed limits on Addison and East 1st streets (southeast of downtown Fulton) and Christopher Lane (off North Bluff Street) will be reduced to 20 miles per hour if an ordinance is passed, perhaps at the next council meeting. Complaints of speeding on those streets have been received.

"When you're going 30, you feel like you're going too fast," City Engineer Kyle Bruemmer said.

Charter amendments were discussed that would change two election issues. One would require candidates to collect signatures from registered voters, and another would eliminate the need to put uncontested races on city ballots. Each election within each ward costs about $2,000.

"The most recent election is a perfect example because we had five candidates unopposed," Johnson said, adding the city could have saved between $8,000-$9,000. "We could save this money in theory if we went with this measure."

To change the city charter, registered voters must give their approval. City Council members will look at drafting an ordinance to place the two city charter changes on the April election ballot. They may also look at doing the same to create a city sales tax for internet sales.