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Trenton City Commission proposes $1.50 hourly increase for first year to $15.00 minimum wage step plan

The Trenton City Commission held their second regular scheduled monthly meeting for August on Monday night as the complete Commission and staff attended the meeting. Mayor Lee Deen called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. as Commissioner Cloud Haley gave an invocation to begin the Public Hearing and Mayor Deen led those attending in the salute to the American flag. The item of interest on this agenda was the fiscal year 2021-2022 Budget Workshop.
Trenton City Manager Lyle Wilkerson was back with the City staff as the Trenton native reported that he has just returned to work after aing with a severe case of the COVID-19 virus. Commissioner Cloud Haley was also in attendance, as he, too, was slow to make his way into the meeting after dealing with a severe case of the COVID-19 virus. The City Manager reported to the Commission as he presented a Plan that would allow the City of Trenton to meet the $15.00 minimum wage salary requirement over the next five years. Mr. Wilkerson’s presentation gave the Commission a choice of $1.50 per hour pay increase per employee beginning with the new 2021-2022 fiscal year. Or the Commission could select the alternative to go with the 3% salary increase also beginning with the 2021-2022 fiscal year. The City Manager laid out the numbers to both plans and asked the Commission for some direction on which way the elected officials wanted to proceed.
The City Manager explained that the City of Trenton is having a difficult time finding qualified people to fill the positions that are needed in the municipality. Mr. Wilkerson pointed out the City of Trenton is continually interviewing applicants, but people want more of a salary than the City of Trenton can afford. The City Manager explained that retirement, health insurance and other benefits that are offered by the City of Trenton won’t buy bread to put on the table for these employees families, it won’t make car payments, but these people don’t think that longevity is important at this time.
The Commission discussed the proposals and agreed to direct the Trenton staff to prepare the budget for the $1.50 per hour pay increase for each employee beginning with the October 1, 2021 pay period. The City Manager reported that different municipality in this area are considering many different types of solutions to meet this demanding minimum wage increase. Mr. Wilkerson pointed out that the Town of Bronson is considering giving their employees $15.00 an hour beginning with the new 2021-2022 fiscal year.
Commissioner Craig Ruede reported that he felt the City of Trenton should consider working four - 10 hour days, instead of the current five-8 hour days. He explained that the four 10s gives a more productive work week.
The Commission discussed that the citizens in Trenton have not been in favor of the 4-10 hour days, because the service to the community is less responsive when the City of Trenton is closed. The Commission decided that this issue could be discussed in more detail in a workshop in a later meeting.
Commissioner Randy Rutter asked the City Manager if the proposed budget includes a Water & Sewer fee increase for the upcoming fiscal year?
The City Manager reported that this new proposed budget does not have any tax heights and no water or sewer service increases.
Trenton attorney David M. Lang, Jr. reported that he has sent the revised sanitation service contract to the City of Trenton. He pointed out to the Commission that the present revised contract identified residential garbage pickup at $21.08 per month, which includes two pickups per week. He explained the Waste Pro contract could add the additional service of picking up furniture and other type material once a month, or pickup limbs and yard debris once a month for $22.08 for residential customers.
The City Commission will review that final contract and decide on which service they agree for the residents in the next regular schedule meeting.
This City of Trenton meeting adjourned at 6:45 p.m.