First meeting sees revamped town hall jobs, lowered sewer rates
Mayor Greg Wilder marked his turf so there would be no misunderstanding with members of the council, at the town council meeting last Wednesday.
Wilder proposed, and the council unanimously confirmed, a number of resolutions during the course of the evening. The new mayor even wrote up motions for council members to make to approve the resolutions.
Wilder skillfully wove his way through what could have been a minefield of resistance.
The town’s attorney, Mick Howe, was present, but not needed, as Wilder drew from chapter and verse of state law how the strong mayor system works.
Wilder restructured the town clerk and the clerk’s office salary schedules, revised the sewer rates (downward) and shared the job descriptions of several offices.
Then he fended off a suggestion that council members help review employee performances. By statute, that’s the mayor’s job, he explained, firmly.
Wilder outlined a resolution honoring former mayor Quincy Snow’s 16 years as mayor and before that his years on the council.
That got two responses. One from former councilman Karl Hjorten, who said it was a bit redundant since Snow had been presented a plaque for his services earlier. Wilder explained the resolution was a more expansive one in that it included the thanks of the entire community.
The resolution read: “The Town Council and Mayor, on behalf of the citizens of Coulee Dam, acknowledge the exemplary 4-term dedication of Mayor Gayland (Quincy) Snow for his unselfish and committed service to the Town of Coulee Dam and its people.”
Councilmember Duane Johnson, attending his first meeting, took issue with the word “exemplary.” He said in light of the turmoil in the town over the wastewater treatment plant, he didn’t agree with the use of that word.
Wilder said Snow’s long service was more important than a disagreement over a single issue.
The council, including Johnson, voted in favor of the resolution.
The town’s sewer customers, while experiencing an increase in the months of January and February, will see a sharp decrease in their sewer bills the rest of the year. The 2013 rate was $59 a month and moved to $70 the first of the year. Wilder’ new plan, beginning in March, will cut the monthly sewer cost to residences to $56. He said he tried to cut it to $54 a month but it wouldn’t work out in the budget.
On the town clerk/treasurer salary, which ran $72,972.36, is now on a five-step plan beginning at $3,969 a month and ending at a maximum pay of $4,800 a month ($57,600 a year). Since the position is salaried there will be no overtime involved, Wilder explained.
With the savings, he plans to hire a part-time records clerk.
He has hired a replacement to the town clerk position vacant since Carol Visker resigned, and is hiring the person at step two, advancing to step three after six months.