Breckenridge Texan

City Commissioners turn down bid for American Legion building, approve sign-on bonuses for new employees

City Commissioners turn down bid for American Legion building, approve sign-on bonuses for new employees
January 17
21:51 2023

By Carla McKeown/Breckenridge Texan

After meeting in closed-door session about the former American Legion building, the Breckenridge City Commissioners turned down an offer to buy the building and voted to make some changes to the bid process. The action took place during the Jan. 10 meeting.

“I move to reject the received bid for the American Legion hall and instruct the city manager to repost with the stipulations that the bidder state the purpose of the property and agree to be open for business within three years or the property will revert back to the city at the same price,” Commissioner Vince Moore said in making a motion after the commission’s executive session. The motion passed unanimously.

In their Nov. 1 meeting, the City Commission voted to allow City Manager Cynthia Northrop to advertise for sealed bids for the property located in the 600 block of East Walker Street. The commissioners went into executive session at their December meeting to discuss the property but did not take any action at that meeting.

The City was deeded the land several years ago by the American Legion.

Employee Sign-on Bonus

Northrop told the commissioners that the City has had problems attracting and retaining employees and she recommended that the City offer sign-on bonuses to new employees.

She acknowledged that the City doesn’t always pay as much as private sector businesses do but that the City is able to offer steady work and good incentives, such as insurance, paid holidays, longevity pay and more.

The proposed sign-on bonus will offer new employees a $1,500 incentive, payable in three installments. The first $500 will be paid after the first three months of working for the City; the second payment at 12 months; and the third payment at 18 months. If the employee quits in less than two years, they will have to reimburse the city for the bonus.  The City Attorney has reviewed the proposal.

Northrop said the City has nine positions open, and the City’s website shows that applications are being accepted for the positions of Police Communications Officer (dispatcher), Parks Maintenance Technician, Utility Maintenance Tech, Public Works Director, Street Maintenance Operator, and Police Officer. For more details about the jobs, visit the City of Breckenridge’s website.

Before the commissioners approved the proposal, both Breckenridge Mayor Bob Sims and Mayor Pro-tem Rob Durham expressed concerns about current employees, wanting to make sure that employees continue to get wage increases on a regular basis.

Social Media Policy

The City of Breckenridge’s current personnel policy doesn’t mention social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok or other sites or blogs. However, Northrop said most cities now have such policies in place.

The commissioners approved the proposed policy. Click the link below to see the new Social Media Policy for City of Breckenridge employees:

City of Breckenridge Employee Social Media Policy

While the City encourages its employees to enjoy and make good use of their off-duty time, certain activities on the part of employees may become a problem if they have the effect of impairing the work of any employee; harassing, demeaning, or creating a hostile work environment for any employee; disrupting the smooth and orderly flow of work within the City; or harming the goodwill and reputation of the City in the community at large. In the area of social media (print, broadcast, digital, and online), employees may use such media in any way they choose during non-working hours as long as such use does not produce the adverse consequences noted above. For this reason, the City reminds its employees that the following guidelines apply in their off-duty use of social media:

 Employees are strictly prohibited from publishing any personal information about themselves, another employee of the City, or a customer in any public medium (print, broadcast, digital, or online) that:

 has the potential or effect of involving the employee, his/her co-workers, or the City in any kind of dispute or conflict with other employees or third parties.  interferes with the work of any employee.

 creates a harassing, demeaning, or hostile working environment for any employee.

 disrupts the smooth and orderly flow of work within the office, or the delivery of services to the City’s customers.

 harms the goodwill and reputation of the City among its customers or the community at large.

 tends to place in doubt the reliability, trustworthiness, or sound judgment of the person who is the subject of the information.

 reveals proprietary or confidential information.

 Should an employee decide to create a personal blog, the employee should be sure to provide a clear disclaimer that the views expressed in the blog are the author’s alone and do not represent the views of the City.

 Do not discuss the City’s customers, or finances without the City’s express written consent to do so.

 Do not use any City logos or trademarks without prior written consent of the City.

 Do not make any unauthorized references of any kind to any former employees of the City on social media sites.

An employee who violates this policy will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. The absence of explicit reference to a particular site does not limit the extent of the application of this policy. If no policy or guideline exists, the City’s employees should use their professional judgment and follow the most prudent course of action. If an employee is uncertain, consult with their supervisor or the City Manager before proceeding.

Fee Schedule

The City Commissioners also approved the first reading of a new fee schedule that increases several fees that citizens and businesses must pay to the City of Breckenridge in certain circumstances. The new fee plan is scheduled to go into effect on March 1.

For example, in the Buildings and Structures section, the fee for electrical permits increased from $40 to $50 and the reinspection fee increased from $25 per trip to $50 per trip. For plumbing inspections and gas inspections, the new fee schedule includes a service that was previously unavailable — “inspections outside of normal business hours” for $75.

In the Occupational Licenses and Regulations section, the application fee for a peddler or solicitor license increased from $30 to $50 and the license fee increased from $35 to $50. The application fee for a mobile food vendor license increased from $25 to $50.

Under “Water and Sewer,” the reconnection fee for delinquent accounts increased from $10 to $25 during normal business hours; for after-hours reconnection, the fee increased from $25 to $50. There are similar increases for temporary disconnection of service, connection fee and transfer fee.

In the Zoning section regarding permits, the fee for Mobile Home Permits increased from $50 to $75; the fee for Certificate of Occupancy (on commercial application) increased from $20 to $75; and the Locating Portable Building fee increased from $40 to $50. Additionally, the Zoning section now includes a $400 zoning fee, $500 preliminary plat fee, $400 final plat fee, $400 replat fee and $200 variance request fee.

Click here to see the new ordinance fee schedule. The proposed ordinance still will need to go through a second reading at the next commission meeting before it is official.

Citizen complaints

The Jan. 10 meeting started out with two citizens speaking to the commissioners about problems they have recently experienced.

For the second month in a row, Jean Hayworth addressed the commission about a hole that was dug by the City in the alley behind her house. The hole has been there for 10 months, Hayworth said, preventing anyone from driving down the alley. Additionally, she complained about the condition of the local streets and asked when the City intends to make repairs.

Ty Brown talked to the commissioners about a plumbing issue he has had, specifically with repairing a sewer blockage and connecting to the City’s sewer line.

During the public speaking portion of the meetings, members of the public may address the commissioners, but since the items aren’t officially on the the meeting’s agenda, the commissioners cannot discuss the items. However, commissioners may request that an item be placed on the next meeting agenda for discussion and possible action.

Other business

During the meeting, the following also took place:

  • City Manager Cynthia Northrop acknowledge the Parks and Cemetery Department, which has a combined 75 years of experience. The department includes Director of Public Services Stacy Harrison, who has worked for the City for 29 years; Tommy “Gordy” Gordon, who has worked for the City for 32 years; and Wesley Duggan, who has worked for the City for 14 years.
  • Reappointed J.B. Sparks and Genoa Goad to the Planning and Zoning Commission.
  • Approved the hiring of David Miller as the Executive Director of the Breckenridge Economic Development Corp.

David Miller, the new Executive Director of the Breckenridge Economic Development Corp., talks to the Breckenridge City Commission, briefly, during the Jan. 10 meeting. The commissioners voted to approve Miller being hired for the position. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)

Cutline, top photo: Breckenridge City Manager Cynthia Northrop, center, gives the staff report to the city commissioners. Also pictured are, from left, Mayor Pro-tem Rob Durham, commissioner Blake Hamilton and City Secretary Jessica Sutter. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan)



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