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Allouez board approves temporary wage increase

By Rich Palzewic
Staff Writer

ALLOUEZ – At its Sept. 1 meeting, the Allouez village board approved a temporary wage increase for seasonal workers this fall.

The wage increase would be to $15 per hour instead of the current $10.50 per-hour rate.

“This is outside of the window of our summer work, which is filled mostly by our college-age kids,” said Chris Clark, director of parks, recreation and forestry. “This would be for this fall, where we still have lots of work to do, not only in the parks but in other departments, too. We have increased demands in the forestry area. It’s not easy to find laborers during this time of the year because our college kids are back in school.”

Clark said one person applied for work this fall but the individual didn’t want to work for the $10.50 hourly rate.

“I find it strange someone would apply for the job at the published rate and then say they wouldn’t take it for that amount,” said Jim Rafter, board president.

Clark said the position was posted for more than a month.

“We’ve had difficulty filling these positions, and I’ve heard many times it’s because of the low wage we offer,” he said. “Other communities in the area offer anywhere from $10 to $14.50 per hour for this type of position.”

The wage for May through August would remain at the $10.50 per-hour rate.

“Because of COVID-19, we were asked as a department to decrease our seasonal hiring this summer,” said Clark. “We didn’t know how our budgets would be affected. We typically have six individuals working in the summer, but this year we only had three.”

Clark was looking for a permanent increase in the wage for the spring/fall, but Rafter and the rest of the board members said they didn’t feel comfortable with that, so it was changed for this fall only.

“Nobody likes to spend more money than they need to,” said Rafter. “It’s been Allouez’s position to never pay the least or pay the most – we want to be in the middle. We’re looking at about $1,600 more for this fall, but what we’re doing, is setting precedence. That’s why it should be a one-time thing for this fall only, and we’ll get it into the budget cycle for next year and figure out what’s right. We’re going from the low point to the most in the area, but we need help now.”

Sidewalk clearing change proposed

A recommendation to change the sidewalk clearing ordinance for the winter months was also heard by the board.

In the current policy, the village clears all village-owned properties, roundabouts and school sidewalk routes during any snow event.

Also, anytime a snowfall of 3 inches or greater occurs, the village clears all other sidewalks.

If the snowfall is less than 3 inches, the abutting property owner is responsible for clearing the sidewalk.

With the proposed change, the village would continue to clear village-owned properties, roundabouts and school-sidewalk routes, but it would also clear problem-areas sidewalks along Riverside Drive, Webster and Allouez avenues and Brookridge Street regardless of the amount of snow received.

Another proposed change is increasing the 3-inch limit for the village to clear all other sidewalks to 6 inches.

Regardless of any snow amount, adjacent property owners would still be required to keep their sidewalks clear of snow and ice after the village cleared them.

Residents have 48 hours after a snowstorm to complete sidewalk shoveling.

“At those problem areas, it’s almost impossible for adjacent property owners to keep the sidewalks clear with the amount of traffic going by throwing snow back on the sidewalks,” Rafter said. “This is a good solution and a nice service for our village residents.”

The board will vote on the change at a future meeting.

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