County of Wetaskiwin boosts two Public Works positions to full time

County council hears workloads increasing, more revenue off-sets increased hours

The County of Wetaskiwin Public Works staff will be increased after council approved a request to hire at the regular Public Works meeting Jan. 29.

The request for increased staffing was presented by Public Works superintendent Neil Powell, with help from County CAO Rod Hawken.

“This report is a request for Council to consider additional staff requirements for the Public Works (PW) and Utilities (UT) departments,” noted Powell’s memo to council.

“Overall, this request is to affect two existing part time positions. This includes an in-scope 0.75 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) Utilities Operator position and an out-of-scope 0.5 FTE Public Works/ Utilities administrative position.

“As was discussed at the 2018 Strategic Planning Session, it is proposed to upgrade this current (utilities operator) 0.75 FTE to a full time position (1.0 FTE). The necessity for the additional staff time is to address the increasing responsibilities placed upon the Utilities department. The increase in workload is primarily attributed to the expansive growth of the sewage collection and treatment systems in, and around the Pigeon Lake area. In addition to the added facilities to manage, the Utilities Department is addressing operational requirements that are necessary to ensure the safe and efficient delivery of essential services. Operational improvements and enhancements include development of effective maintenance programs, monitoring and reporting, infrastructure protection (AB One Call locates), security and 24 hour emergency services. Currently, the seasonal 0.75 FTE Utilities Operator position costs the County a total of $52,248 per year. Moving to a 1.0 FTE, the annual cost will be $81,192 which reflects the additional time and inclusion of full time benefits. The overall increase to the Utilities 2019 budget would be $28,944 and allocated evenly between 4100 Water Services and 4200 Wastewater Services.

“Currently, the part time 0.50 FTE Public Works Assistant position costs the County a total of $41,982 per year. Moving to a 1.0 FTE, the annual cost will be $84,360 which reflects the additional time and inclusion of full time benefits. The overall increase to the Public Works and Utilities 2019 budget would be $42,378. This additional labour cost will be allocated evenly across 4000 Utility Services and 3201 Public Works Administration. For the 2019 budget and on, it is expected that the growth in sewage sales will help to offset the increase in these salaries. Systems and customers are added every year and will further increase revenues through the collection of fees for services.”

Councilors discussed increasing the two part-time positions to full time. The dollar figure for the admin position, $84,360, was mentioned specifically.

Hawken answered that over $20,000 of that figure is reflected in staff benefits. He also mentioned, when hiring, the county only brings requests like this forward if it’s strongly felt that more help is needed.

Councilors approved the request by a vote of 4 to 2.

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