The Gazette covers City Hall, now a flood-damaged icon on May's Island in the Cedar River

City Hall budget work proceeds; 32 more employees may be in the offing; part-time council salaries skyrocketing 1.1 percent

In City Hall on January 22, 2009 at 9:41 pm

CEDAR RAPIDS – Work on the city’s budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 continues in earnest.

For now, the City Council is considering adding 32 full-time employees to its current work force that now numbers 1,401 employees. The proposed increases are focused in public works (11 new positions) and code enforcement (four) related to the city’s flood recovery, and increases also are proposed in information technology (five) and the city’s joint communications center (six). Casey Drew, the city’s finance director, noted that the employee number is a work in progress.

The city’s Hotel-Motel Allocation Committee announced its recommendations last night on how the council should hand out an estimated $2.5 million in annual hotel-motel tax revenue.

Jen Neumann, who presented the committee report, noted that the requests for funds were higher than ever for essentially a stagnant pot of money. One highlight: the committee is recommending that the largest recipient, the Cedar Rapids Convention and Visitors Bureau, receive $650,000, a cut of $75,000 from the current year and $100,000 less than it had wanted.

The Ellis Park swimming pool, which was put out of commission by the flood, had been slated to remain closed in 2009. The council last night said it wanted it opened, and Julie Sina, the city’s parks and recreation director, presented a repair plan in the neighborhood of $300,000 to reopen it.

City employees are slated to get about a 3.25  percent raise in the new budget.

However, the City Council’s own part-time salaries are tied to the consumer price index by the City Charter. The index rose 1.1 percent in the last year, Drew told the council last night. 

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