Breckenridge Texan

Breckenridge City Commission approves pay raises for City employees

Breckenridge City Commission approves pay raises for City employees
January 20
13:07 2022

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

City of Breckenridge employees will soon be earning more money, after the Breckenridge City Commission approved two salary-related items at their meeting on Tuesday evening. How much more will depend on each employee’s job and current salary.

Additionally, the commissioners passed two interlocal agreements with Stephens County and made the final approval on the updated fee schedule.

Employee Pay

With the approval of Ordinance 2022-02, the minimum wage for City of Breckenridge employees will be $12 an hour. Those employees already making $12 per hour will also get a raise based on their tenure and position, City Manager Erika McComis said.

“I don’t know if I put this in the agenda, but some of our employees haven’t had a raise since January 2018…a lot of them,” she said.

The raises will add $89,000 to the budget, and for this year, about two-thirds of the increase ($60,000) will be paid with money the City received through the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund. However, in the future, the money for the salaries will have to be included in the regular budget, McComis said.

“Some people are just going to have to understand in this town, the only way you can raise wages for employees is we’re going to have to raise something,” Commissioner Russell Blue said. “And being business owners, people know that. If you want the town to survive, we’ve got to raise it up.”

The commissioners also approved Resolution 2022-01, providing extra pay — also known as “premium pay” — to essential workers. The extra pay, which went into effect on Monday, will be paid for using the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund, if necessary, and will be in place through the end of 2024.

McComis said the extra pay is only for employees designated as essential workers, such as police officers, firefighters and public works crews. “It’s for people who have to be here to run the city,” she said.

The City of Breckenridge’s employees who are designated as essential employees received raises of varying amounts, depending on their position and the number of years they’ve worked in that position, McComis said.

Every employee working for the City of Breckenridge will get a raise, except for McComis, she said.

Coordination with Stephens County

The commissioners approved two interlocal agreements between the City of Breckenridge and Stephens County regarding the Municipal Court and the fire department. The County Commissioners approved the agreements at their Jan. 10 meeting.

The first agreement coordinates the operation of the Breckenridge Municipal Court and the Stephens County Justice of Peace Court. Under the agreement, the Breckenridge City Commission will appoint Justice of the Peace Steve Spoon as the City’s Municipal Court Judge for a two-year term beginning on Feb. 1. Spoon will be responsible for magistrating defendants who are charged in the municipal court, issuing seizure warrants and conducting animal hearings for the city. Although Spoon will be presiding over both courts, his salary will remain the same.

“This was a collaboration, one that was very high on (County) Judge (Michael) Roach’s meetings with me of what we can do to work together between the city and county,” McComis said. “This agreement helps out both of our courts really, and I’m really excited to try to get this done.”

Mayor Bob Sims pointed out that such an agreement had been talked about for a long time.

“It started before I even got here,” McComis said, agreeing with the mayor.

The City’s Municipal Court Clerk will relocate to the Justice of the Peace’s office in the Stephens County Courthouse and will be cross-trained to assist the JP clerk. Additionally, the JP clerk will be cross-trained to assist with Municipal Court duties.

“So it’s a very good collaborative effort,” McComis said. “… So the city and the county will go in halves on office supplies (and) we will not have a full time judge, so that’s the saving to us. The savings to the county is that they get another employee and they’re not paying for that employee. But we also get another employee, and we’re not paying for that. So it’s a very good meeting of us coming together and using our resources. And I think it’s really good for our public.”

After approving the Municipal Court agreement, the commissioners considered an agreement regarding the fire services for the city and the county,

According to the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting, prior to the proposed agreement, the City and County had a “hand shake agreement” for fire services within the City and within the unincorporated areas of the County. The agreement puts in writing that the County will pay the City $50,000 per year, paid monthly, for the Breckenridge Fire Department to fight Stephens County fires that are outside the city limits, and to split the cost of fuel and vehicle maintenance.

“This is also something that when Judge Roach and I kind of had a meeting of the minds, to collaborate and work together, we realized we had some handshake agreements on fire (services); we didn’t have anything in writing,” McComis said. “This kind of protects both of us liability-wise, and it also lays out what everybody’s responsibilities are and how we can work together.”

The city commissioners approved the proposed agreement.

Other business

The commissioners also approved the following items:

  • Consented to a request for an encroachment by Caddo Creek Investments, LLC for an accessory building which encroaches 22 inches into City right-of-way on a property in the 300 block of West Fourth Street. McComis said the City’s approval was necessary for Caddo Creek to be able to sell the property and that if the building is removed, any future encroachment will not be approved.
  • The second reading of Ordinance 2022-01, which adjusts some of the fees that the City charges for various services. Click here to read the previous Breckenridge Texan article about the fees.

Additionally, local resident and business owner Tommy Wimberley addressed the commissioners about several concerns he has, including the condition of local streets, the wait time for water and sewer taps, and the policing of traffic on Walker Street.

“It’s embarrassing when you go out here to show some property, and you have to dodge potholes,” he said. “… And it’s almost every street in Breckenridge. It’s not just the rich side or the poor side; everybody equally shares them potholes. We’ve got to do something about it. We’re going to destroy this town if we don’t get something done about some of these issues.”

Breckenridge resident and business owner Tommy Wimberley, center, talked to the City Commission about several issues he’s concerned about, including the condition of city streets. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Cutline, top photo: Breckenridge City Manager Erika McComis, right, talks to the city commission, including Russell Blue, left, about a couple of interlocal agreements between the City and Stephens County regarding the Municipal Court and the fire department. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

 

 

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