Olympia’s 2023 budget proposes to add 9 full-time city staff

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Olympia City Manager Jay Burney has proposed that the city include more than nine new positions in various departments in the 2023 budget, which he said has limited impact on the general fund.

The Olympia City Council, on Tuesday, November 15, reviewed the 2023 operating budget.

The 9.75 additional positions were part of Burney's 15 new positions he proposed earlier.

"The majority of the positions in front of you tonight have some revenues that offset them," the city manager informed the councilmembers.

For Public Works, Burney proposes adding an engineering survey field technician. "They've been working with a one-person crew for quite some time. They are busy and need some assistance."

He said the engineering survey field technician would help provide more timely fieldwork. The general funding impact for this position is about $33,000.

Public Works also proposed a new full-time employee (FTE) position, paid 50-50 by the utility and permitting revenues, for an engineering and surveying mapping technician to address the backlog of mapping utilities that support the permitting process, mapping requests, private development, and other city uses.

"We cannot keep up with current demand, and our backlog is growing," Burney commented.

Burney also proposed adding a water resources project engineer for the review of stormwater development.

He said the current staffing could not meet the targeted permit review times. "Having a dedicated position will help improve that and help us meet our customer service goals."

He added that there is no general funding impact in this position.

For Waste Resources, Burney said the city needs additional waste resources refuse collectors as they have seen significant increases in collections in commercial, residential, organics, and the Dropbox program. The position would be funded through utility fees.

The Stormwater department wanted to promote their inventory control specialist to full-time employment to be funded by the stormwater utility.

Burney also said the Community Planning and Development needs contract and office specialist support for development review and homeless response.

 "The 2023 budget proposal is to add a full-time contract specialist and a half-time office specialist. The general fund impact for this one for 2023 is around $170,000," Burney said, adding they may recoup some of those general fund impacts through development fees.

For the fire department, Burney is proposing to add one firefighter paramedic.

He explained that the city contract with Medic One Advanced Life Support (ALS) allows for 80% reimbursement for 20 positions within the firefighter paramedic program. Olympia currently has 19 staff. That would allow an increase of one full-time position.

Burney reiterated that it is 80% reimbursement and the general fund impact for this additional position is $27,000.

The Finance department is proposing to add a utility billing account technician. The position would be 100% funded by the utilities.

"We have had no increases in our utility billing staff since 2007. Our population has certainly grown our number of customers, and so is our call volume. We need this position to keep pace," explained Burney.

"We propose adding funding for an armory program manager position to support the Armory creative campus. That will allow for immediate community use and facilitate the ongoing planning and construction phases in funding for repairs and to help with writing grants," the city manager added.

For this position, 50% of the fund would come from capital projects, and the remaining balance would come from the Olympia Metropolitan Park District (OMPD) and the parks department.

According to Burney, the city needs a half-time position for a public service representative to cover customer service at the Olympia Center to be funded by the OMPD. "They also propose another half-time maintenance position at the Olympia Center."

"Outside the office specialist and the contract specialist positions, the majority of them have a revenue offset," Burney said.

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  • olyhiker

    There go my taxes. Sigh.

    Thursday, November 17 Report this

  • Plymouth

    I wonder what the level of scrutiny by the City Council members will be? If the past is a guide, it will be something like,, "Jay, if you say you need these...let's do it." Oh, wait -- wasn't it a few months ago that you said we'd be facing a "tsunami" of expenses that would overwhelm the next general fund budget? (But by then no one will remember these decisions, so what the heck!)

    Friday, November 18 Report this

  • KarenM

    The Council should respond to public comment and make changes to the budget. The Planning Commission letter about the Capital Facilities Plan said that the City is not making enough progress on sidewalks. So it appears they will study it for a couple of years before doing anything. In addition to working on the long term policy, the Council could assign more funds for 2023 to improve ADA access and make walking routes safer. This could be simple repairs and very small projects. They don't need to stop doing anything while they discuss policy.

    It seems the City continues to hire new staff but they don't evaluate programs and end some when they are no longer needed or not performing as expected. What we hear is that there are problems funding everything the Council and community wants. Adding new staffing is a big cost and this cost will continue into the future.

    Friday, November 18 Report this