The Commerce City Council unanimously approved  pay raises for the majority of city employees as part of a large compensation study at its meeting Jan. 21.

The council also approved holding a referendum on whether to permit alcohol sales between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.  with the May 19 primary.

The raises, which will go to about 70 employees, is part of a study conducted by Evergreen Solutions. It sets the beginning pay, a midrange and the maximum pay for each position in the city.

The raises will cost the city more than $77,000 annually.

The approval of the compensation package also includes two “executive assistant” positions, which city manager James Wascher said may or may not be filled. The positions would start at about $65,000, he said.

He said departments could report to those people instead of to him. The utility departments would continue to report to him, Wascher said.

Filling those positions would depend on available money and the applicant pool, Wascher said.

The city manager said the pay raises could be funded within the budget.

PLANNING

The council also approved three items about building houses in the city. Two of those are annexations and re-zonings into the city.

The council approved annexing about 57 acres for the Twin Creeks subdivision and re-zoning it to R-1 residential.

The other request is for 1.74 acres, property of Lynn Burchett and Kevin Minish. Burchett is the wife of mayor pro tem Keith Burchett, who recused himself from the discussion and vote. That land also was re-zoned R-1.

The third item approved was a quit claim deed between the city and the Downtown Development Authority and release of easement from the Municipal Electric Cities of Georgia. That property will be used for a new house through the Community Housing Improvement Program grant. The city received $600,000 in funding and half of that is for new housing.

OTHER BUSINESS

In other business, the council:

•approved a contract for $65,700 with Ideal Exterior Solution for roof replacement at the Commerce Cultural Center. It also includes a price of $50 for each 4x8 OSB for decking that is required. The city’s SLPOST -- special purposed local option sales tax – 6 will pay for the contract.

•agreed to a 36-month contract between the city and the Jackson County Water and Sewerage Authority for the sale or purchase of water from either entity. The agreement provides up to 1 million gallons of water to cost the buying party $3 per thousand gallons; between 1,000,001 and 5 million gallons, it will be $2.90 per thousand gallons; from 5,000,001 to 10 million gallons, it will cost $2.80 per thousand gallons and 10 million gallons or more will be $2.70 per thousand gallons.

•recognized J.C. Crocker on his retirement for more than 40 years of service to the city fire department. He also was the chief of the Rescue Squad.

•approved updates for the city retirement plan of the city’s employee benefit system and for the Jackson County hazard mitigation plan.

•agreed to re-appoint council member Johnny Eubanks from Ward 5 as the city’s representative on the Downtown Development Authority.

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