North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Arlington considers salary commission


Arlington City Council dived into new business at its workshop meeting, Monday, Jan. 12, when Public Works Director Jim Kelly proposed rescinding the utility rate increases for 2015, amending the code that requires a mandatory annual increase in water, sewer and storm utility rates.

According to workshop agenda documents, staff reviewed the current Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton area and determined that the mandatory CPI increase is not necessary.

At the same time, council discussed a study on utility rates and connection fees, as requested by Kelly, who proposed a contract with FCS, a consulting firm based in Redmond, to make a detailed financial analysis of the city’s water and sewer utilities connection fees and rates.

Current rates were established to cover the costs of improvements to the wastewater treatment plant started in 2001.

“Since then the economy has changed, some water debt obligations have retired, and other sewer debt obligations will soon retire,” Kelly said.

A detailed financial analysis is recommended to evaluate the adequacy and appropriateness of Arlington’s current rates, to ensure that the city’s fees will provide a fair fee for customers, while at the same time assuring a viable financial future for the water and sewer utilities.

“Staff reviewed qualification from several firms and have determined that the services provided by FCS Group can best meet the city’s needs,” Kelly said.

The study is estimated to cost nearly $76,000.

More on salaries

A draft ordinance was reviewed Monday creating a Citizen’s Salary Review Commission to periodically review the salaries of the city’s elected officials. The ordinance was requested by council during a fall retreat meeting.

The discussion of staff salaries continues, as well, with a new position proposed in the re-organization of the police department. With a new deputy police chief position and one patrol officer, two commander positions will be deleted. Changes are the result of Matrix study that showed deficiencies in the department’s management structure.

“The creation of this position will address those deficiencies as well as help the department fulfill the recommendations set forth in the Matrix Study,” Bruce Stedman, public safety director, said in documents.

He proposed a job description and salary range for the position, to begin Feb. 1. The assistant chief would be paid from $7,341- $10,466 each month, based on a survey with like agencies.

“Arlington’s proposed salary is neither the lowest nor the highest for this job classification,” Stedman said.


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