On July 12, 2023

Rutland City adds new positions

 

By Katy Savage

The city or Rutland is gaining five new employees.

The Board of Aldermen voted 7-3 on July 3 to allocate about half of an expected $1.1 million surplus, which typically goes to taxpayer relief, to fund the new positions. 

City officials said the creation of the new positions is a proactive approach to the city’s growing needs. 

“While caution is important with surplus funds, I feel that not dealing with the allocation of these funds to the creation of these positions would result in missed opportunities, unrealized efficiency gains and failure to improve the way we work to meet the needs of our residents,” Alderman John McCann said.

The board voted to allocate up to $560,000 for the new positions, adding to the current 150 city employees.

Mayor Mike Doenges said in a phone interview he plans to hire a new executive assistant to help with the day-to-day dealings of his office. 

He plans to reinstate the city engineer position, which merged with the DPW commission, and create an apprentice position to take over for a long-serving engineering technician in the Department of Public Works, who is expected to retire. He will also hire a new grant-writer and a zoning technician to enable Zoning Administrator Andrew Strniste to focus on planning. 

“Paying down the tax rate is great, but we’ve done that for many years,” Doenges said. “In order to act quickly, we need to fund these positions now. I’m making those choices for the long-term vision.”

Doegnes said he wants to lower the tax rate over time by growing the city.

“This is investing in Rutland to relieve the burden on the taxpayer in the next few years,” he said. 

City Treasurer Mary Markowski asked the board to wait to vote until the amount of surplus from the budget could be confirmed later this month. She also questioned the need for adding positions.

“I don’t hear a lot of taxpayers come into the treasurer’s

office complaining there aren’t enough city employees,” Markowski said at the meeting. “They are complaining about the tax rate.”

Markowski said last year’s surplus saved taxpayers about $200 on a $150,000 house. 

“The impact is significant,” she said.

A motion to table the discussion until the next meeting was turned down by a voice vote.

Aldermen members Sharon Davis, Larry Cupoli and William Gillam vote no on the measure. 

“I do think taxpayers have an expectation of unspent funds,” Davis said.

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