Rising Sun pondering hiring
by Lisa Tome
Rising Sun's four member public works crew has been commended numerous times in recent town meetings for their water leak repairs, snow plowing, and more.
Last week, they were paving and patching streets in and around Wilson Avenue.
Now town officials have to decide whether they will hire a fifth staffer or contract out grass cutting duties. Town administrator Calvin Bonenberger said last week that it will cost the town $12,000-$15,000 this year to hire someone to cut grass for three months.
Bonenberger said to hire an employee full time, it will cost $35,000-$40,000 plus benefits.
Commissioner Allen Authenreath has been outspoken regarding this issue.
"During my term, I have been asking that we prepare to hire a fifth public works employee. Our current team has a workload that is increasing each year. We only have four public works employees now and with their vacation time or a long-term sickness, it can leave the town shorthanded. As we prepare to add to our workforce, we needed to practice in the budget adding the salary and benefits package for this next employee. This exercise would show us if our current revenue stream each year would support adding another public works employee before we hire for the position. We were not expecting the assessment for our tax revenue to go down this year the way it did. We never want to hire an employee and be forced to lay them off the next year," said Authenreath.
They are currently working on numbers and obtaining additional bids for contractors.
"We use this exercise to see how it will balance against emergency infrastructure repairs as well as equipment failure and new equipment purchase for our existing team. Having a winter storm season that is unpredictable each year combined with a spring, summer, and fall storm seasons that bring their own unexpected expenses, we wanted to be proactive in creating a job that could also be a good fit for a local resident looking for a career in public works," Authenreath said.
He also said it's still under consideration. "We hope that we can fill this position in the near future," said Authenreath.
Commissioner Augie Pierson said that the town crew can pave streets and fix sidewalks. "That's more expensive to contract out," Pierson said. "We're going to look at all options," said Mayor Travis Marion.
The public works crew - Ron Thomas supervisor, Grant Coates, Darrell Baeder, and Chris George - all have worked for the town long enough that they each have five weeks of vacation time.
Comments are closed.