City discusses compensation for workers

Compensation for city employees was the main topic of the Hillsboro City Council meeting on Tuesday, June 7.

“With the increasing inflation and the tight job market, it has become imperative that the city makes efforts to continue to adequately compensate employees. While employees are one of the

highest cost centers, they are also our greatest asset,” said Hillsboro City Administrator Matt Stiles. “The high turnover in the last 18 months, mostly due to retirements, has emphasized the high costs financially and in time effort to recruit and retain good employees. As mentioned in early May, in order to just keep up with inflation the city would need to increase wages by over 9.5%.”

Stiles mentioned several options for compensation such as proposed changes in employee health insurance, cost of living adjustments (COLAs), merit-based bonus, adding Good Friday and a personal floating holiday and more. He said that staff would like feedback on the proposed solutions. That feedback will then be included in the draft of the budget. Once the information from the county is received and work with department heads is complete, a draft budget will be presented to the Hillsboro City Council for review.

The council also learned that the community plaza project is moving forward. The city crews have removed portions of Washington street to replace the water main and parking areas. Work slowed down due to rain but will pick up in the next week. The water main should also be completed in the next week weather allowing.

There will be many bills for concrete for the installation of the pad, parking, sidewalks and other items in the park. Stiles said that rather than go through individual purchase approvals, they are asking that the council approve concrete and associated materials purchases up to $60,000.

“That will likely not be all the needed purchases for concrete, but at this point we are determining how much we need to complete the majority of the project. The funds raised for the plaza, held at the Hillsboro Community Foundation, are currently at $63,740.43. Those funds are designated for this project and will be drawn down to pay for the concrete costs and other costs related to the project. Any costs outside of those raised funds will come from the City’s capital improvement funds,” said Stiles.

The council was given a final report on the city auction held on May 14. The total after fees and expenses was $14,050.86. The street department had $2,513.09 in net proceeds. Electric department had $657.92 in net proceeds. The water department $502.52 in net proceeds. Sports complex had $294.13 in net proceeds. Administrative department had $40.64 in net proceeds. The Museum which received all the attention netted the highest return of $10,042.58. Each department that had funds raised deposited in their equipment reserve fund.

In other business, the council:

  •  approved the use of the property at 107 West B Street to be used for a Bed and Breakfast. The Planning Commission heard the case at the May 26, 2022 regular meeting and approved it then. The property will be advertised on the AirBnB and VRBO platforms.
  •  learned that Marion Reservoir was closed to all visitors on June 2 due to blue-algae and its related toxins. The water plant has been prepping for this eventuality, but has not seen significant amounts entering the raw water yet. There is a delay between when the algae impact the recreational use of the lake to when it becomes a significant problem in the water system. The city has continued to investigate additional treatment options. Stiles reported that a provider for chlorine-dioxide injection technology visited the plant with city engineers in late May. There is still some evaluation needed to determine if chlorine-dioxide will be an appropriate treatment option.
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