The City of Wilder is set to approve a new $6.9 million annual budget with special appropriations for updating the city building and increasing pay for all city personnel.
The improvements to city hall will focus on improving the functionality and presentation of the council chamber. That includes new carpet, an upgraded dais, and two digital projectors that could be used during meetings or employee training sessions for presentations.
“A lof of this is just trying to bring us into a century of where technology is, and this building has been left out,” said City Administrator Terry Vance.
Those renovations are estimated to cost around $150,000 and could take at least a year to complete.
Pay increases for city staff along with the police and fire departments are expected to come in two forms: a merit-based pay program and new retention agreements.
The former is meant to earmark additional funds for employees who go above and beyond based upon their respective responsibilities while motivating others to follow. The latter would work out as a yearly bonus paid out every July to both police officers and fire fighters, and increase every year they stay in Wilder.
When the proposal was first presented to Wilder City Council this week, multiple council members raised concerns over how equitable the bonuses will be between departments, and a paramedic vacancy in EMS.
“I was authorized to get ahead this year, but none of the applications have panned out,” said Fire Chief Doug Neyman. “Believe it or not it ‘s not just us. Newport and Fort Thomas both typically get 30 to 40 applicants, and they have not had any in over four weeks.”
Ultimately the proposed budget passed the first reading with a 4-1 vote, and if it is finalized later this month, those new agreements will go into effect July 1 with bonuses paid out the same day.
Wilder’s next city council meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 19 at 7 p.m.