By Susan Redden
CARTHAGE, Mo. —
Carthage city workers will get a 1 percent cost-of-living increase starting in February.
The pay boost was approved by the City Council on Tuesday night. It was recommended by the council’s budget committee.
City workers received no across-the-board cost-of-living raise last July, at the start of the fiscal year, though those who were eligible did advance on the city’s pay plan, Tom Short, city administrator, said Wednesday.
He said the budget committee recommended the increase after looking at city revenues and discussing changes that have resulted in lower pay for workers.
“Their Social Security withholding was adjusted by 2 percent, so that affected their paychecks,” he said. “And when we approved a new health insurance plan, the premium was increased and their out-of-pocket costs went up.”
Short said the increase will cost the city between $20,000 and $25,000 through the remainder of the fiscal year, when ends June 30.
In other business Tuesday, council members adopted resolutions to accept two donations from the Steadley Foundation that will go to city park projects and another donation, from an anonymous source, to benefit the Police Department.
The Steadley Foundation is giving the city $10,000 for a project to plant flower gardens in Central Park. Members of the Dogwood Garden Club are in charge of the garden design and presented their plans to the council’s public services committee several months ago.
An additional $5,000 from the foundation will help pay for a study of city parks by students in the Drury University School of Architecture. Students from the school earlier worked with local volunteers on a “visioning” project for downtown Carthage.
Short said a letter of agreement between the city and the university has been reviewed by the public services committee but has not yet advanced to the council. The project is not scheduled to start until next fall.
“This won’t be a parks master plan, but we hope it will produce information that can be used in a master plan,” Short said. “They’ll be soliciting community input and bringing those ideas forward. But like with the downtown study, those goals and tools will have to be analyzed.”
The council accepted a $10,000 donation made to the Police Department. Short said no decision has been made on how the money will be used.
“Normally the chief looks at equipment or something else that has been cut from their capital improvement budget, and goes back and tries to pick that up,” he said. “The final decision will come through the public safety committee.”
CITY ADMINISTRATOR TOM SHORT said council members on Tuesday approved a calendar outlining dates and deadlines for work in preparing a budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.