Originally published July 29, 2014
Budget talks turn to senior services
Thursday, July 31, 2014 8:00 AM
Offering more activities for senior citizens was discussed at the Madison City Council's budget work session Monday night.
Clarification - July 31, 2014
Madison City Councilwoman Mindy McGee recommended to the City Council on Monday that the administration make changes to the personnel policy to include year-end performance reviews that would include goals for each employee pertaining to their job functions.
The discussion and recommendation came during the council work session pertaining to 6 percent raises department supervisors had requested for their employees during the 2015 budget year.
Councilwoman Laura Hodges asked about parks programs during the meeting. She said several people had requested more programs for retirement-aged residents.
Parks Director Dave Stucker said that a new senior citizens center will open in the downtown Trilogy Health Services senior living facility sometime next year.
"The opportunity is unlimited at this point," he said of the new center.
After the work session, Mayor Damon Welch said the senior citizens center will be located in the basement of the building where the former hospital's cafeteria and some offices were located.
The center is still in the planning and design stages, the mayor said.
Hodges also asked about the possibility of adding a program coordinator for the Parks Department in a future budget. Councilman Jim Lee said adding a parks program coordinator should go to a study committee before being brought before the Council during next year's budget sessions.
Stucker said the department hosts several activities for adults, including morning water exercises at Crystal Beach, a senior citizens dance each Friday at the Brown Gym and an adult basketball league.
Lee asked about increasing pool hours next year.
Stucker said the pool's operation depends on the weather, school schedules and available employees.
The pool has been down "several thousand" visitors, something he contributed to a mixture of a longer school year and a cooler summer.
In the next few weeks, he will lose several employees when they return to high school or college.
"I simply don't have the manpower to operate the pool," he said.
He's attempted to hire adult lifeguards, but that hasn't gone very well. Stucker would also need to hire concession workers and front desk employees.
Stucker said the pool may have to close in mid-August because of the employee shortage.
Council members also discussed the raises department supervisors requested during this budget year.
Councilman Darrell Henderson said the Council ends up being the bad guys if raises are denied. The council had discussed a 1.5 percent raise across the board this year.
"We either end up being the bad guys or we end up with bad morale," he said.
Councilwoman Mindy McGee agreed.
"I think it put everyone in an awkward position," she said.
She suggested a study committee look at an employee incentive program or other monetary-based merit pay during the upcoming year.
The council agreed to look at employee raises once a more defined budget has been determined. City officials haven't yet determined exactly how much the city's 2015 budget will be.
Another work session will be held at a later date when city officials have a better understanding of the city's income for the upcoming budget year.