Public Works to add three new positions

The Sweet Home City Council authorized a Public Works request for three new employees last week.

The three positions include a maintenance worker for the wastewater collection system, a new treatment plant operator and a maintenance worker for storm drains and sweeping. The positions are subject to budget approval.

The wastewater position and the plant operator are two of five proposed originally during a water and wastewater rate study completed last year. The study later proposed four new employees.

During public meetings, former Mayor Dave Holley proposed holding off a year to determine how many employees would really be needed and holding a portion of last year’s water and wastewater rate increases for capital improvements.

One of the four original positions was approved on July 25. That position was used in the Engineering Division.

On April 25, the City Council adopted the new rates, which increased on July 1.

With present workload requirements, at least two more positions are required, Public Works Director Mike Adams said. Both positions would be fully funded by sewer and water revenues.

In considering future requirements and funding mechanisms, Public Works requested the storm drainage position and one meter reader. The meter reader was dropped from the discussion last week. The drainage position follows a request by the City Council for Adams to develop a funding mechanism for drainage improvements and maintenance.

The Maintenance Division currently employs nine maintenance workers, 2.5 in water distribution, 2.5 in sanitary sewer, three in streets and one in facilities. The treatment plants employ five operators, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The current workload requires an additional employee in sanitary sewer and in the treatment plants, Adams said. The storm drainage position will be needed later, after more details are developed. Adams based the need on man-hours required for maintenance of each system and presented City Council with a detailed chart of how those hours are allocated.

In addition to the new positions, Adams also requested the council recognize the combination of the planning and building functions. Funding will be reallocated to reflect the changes. Adams recommended that the combined functions be named its own department, ideally with either the city planner or building inspector named department head.

The request was approved 5-1. Voting yes were Bob McIntire, Tim McQueary, Mayor Craig Fentiman, Dick Hill and Jim Bean. Robert G. Danielson voted no. Jim Gourley was absent.

Adams said he will bring a proposal for new rates, likely to increase, to the City Council on March 13.

In other business, the council:

– Adopted a resolution ratifying amendments to the intergovernmental agreement that created Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments.

– Adopted ordinance revisions implementing Measure 7 for property owners who choose to make a claim that the use or value of their property has been limited by a regulation.