Katy City Council expressed their appreciation for city staff Monday afternoon by passing an across-the-board $2,600 annual pay increase for all of the city’s full-time employees and …
Katy City Council expressed their appreciation for city staff Monday afternoon by passing an across-the-board $2,600 annual pay increase for all of the city’s full-time employees and designating all city staff as employees of the year for 2020 in recognition of their hard work during what Mayor Bill Hastings termed “the COVID year.”
“While we still have COVID challenges to face, we want to thank you for helping us maneuver through 2020,” Hastings said. “We are proud to have such honest, hardworking loyal people on our team.”
City documents indicate that sales tax revenue, which had been predicted to come in lower than average for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was above that projection by about $535,000. This unexpected income allowed the city to transfer moneys from its general fund, enterprise fund and other items to pay for the pay increase. This will cost the city about $375,000 during the current fiscal year which ends Sept. 30 with the total expenditure capped at $408,000. Council members expressed support for city staff either with an affirmative vote on the issue or with commentary supporting city workers’ extra efforts during 2020.
“The best thing about these pay increases is that everyone in staff that’s at a lower lor mid-level pay salary, this will greatly affect them instead of (3%) across the board,” said Council Member Jenifer Stockdick. “(A percentage increase) across the board is great for someone at the high end, but someone at the low end – it doesn’t boost them enough, so I’m super-excited that we’re doing this.”
Generally, in government, staff-wide pay increases are done in percentages, making the move by the city a rare occurrence.
“I think it’s probably very rare that instead of giving a percentage, we’re giving an across-the-board, permanent pay increase, just a flat rate that really helps the hourly employees,” Mayor Pro Tem Chris Harris said.
Council also heard an update regarding the Harvest Plaza project in downtown Katy. Christopher LeBlanc with LJA Engineering which is overseeing the project said concrete work including a patio behind the Civic Center at 910 Avenue C in downtown Katy, across Avenue C from Katy City Hall should be completed Feb. 9. A pergola for the patio is being built off-site and a delivery date is unknown, he said. Additionally, provided weather allows, work on landscaping in the now-bare city square should begin this week and be completed in a couple weeks.
An email address for residents to submit their suggestions for improvements and features in the plaza has been set up at firstname.lastname@example.org, City Administrator Byron Hebert said.
Council approved multiple items in regard to drainage improvements in the Riceland Terrace subdivision. Measures included a resolution to add about $44,000 for water line, storm sewer and traffic control devices along Patna Drive, Rexora Lane and Caloro Lane where work is already underway. They also approved the sale of $3 million in bonds approved by voters in 2018 shortly after Hurricane Harvey caused flooding in the city in 2017 to improve water flow through the city.
“We’re going to be using these bonds for Drexel (Drive) and Rexora (Lane) and Caloro (Lane), and then additional funding might be able to send to maybe some drainage projects over at the (various city) drainage ponds,” Hebert said.
Josh Netardus with Costello Engineering, the city’s drainage consultant, said current projects already underway in Riceland Terrace are expected to be completed in December of this year or January 2022.
Council also approved adding signage and making changes to traffic flow in the 1300 block of Pin Oak Road near the U.S. Post Office there. Five city vehicles were declared as salvage for disposal through auction or other means. An annual report regarding racial profiling that is standard procedure was accepted from the Katy Police Department and indicated compliance with the law. Council also approved an agreement with Waller County allowing Igloo, located to the west of the city, to receive tax credits through the Texas Enterprise Zone Program for economic development near the plant which is within Katy’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.