City to allocate more money to training

SHERIDAN — The city of Sheridan has started its series of work sessions to discuss the proposed budget for fiscal year 2014-2015.

The first session was held Wednesday and focused on the budgets for the mayor, council, clerk, treasurer, Internet technology department and human resources department.

The second session was held Friday. In it, representatives from eight nonprofit and social service organizations updated the council on highlights from the past year and plans for the coming year.

City Clerk Scott Badley said supplemental funding from the state has increased approximately $400,000 to a total of $1.9 million. Part of the increase has been used to provide additional money for travel and training for the council and the mayor.

The clerk’s office, which provides a wide array of services ranging from record keeping, to issuance of permits and licenses, to cemetery scheduling, had a slight increase in its proposed budget from $256,000 to $293,000 to accommodate pay increases and additional professional services that are needed in an election year, Badley said.

Badley is also acting as the interim treasurer. His position is part-time, but the city does hope to hire a new full-time treasurer. In the meantime, if additional outside help is needed, it will fall under professional services and be paid for out of the supplemental funds.

Human Resources Director Heather Doke said her department consists of two employees who care for more than 170 city employees.

For fiscal year 2015, the human resource department’s proposed budget is up to $444,676 from $194,425. Doke said the reason for the large increase is mainly due to the instigation of merit pay increases for employees. The funds for the merit increases will be placed in the human resources budget and distributed as needed.  Doke said another increase in the budget will pay for a new computer for the department.  The city has also included some funds in the HR budget to start a wellness program for its employees, Doke said.

The program will encourage physical activity, tobacco cessation, health coaching and more in order to keep employees well and avoid increased insurance premiums. For the second year in a row, Doke said she was glad to report there was no increase in health insurance costs.

On Friday, the council heard from representatives of the Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Sheridan Association, the North Main Association, the Advocacy and Resource Center, Habitat for Humanity, the Dog and Cat Shelter, Child Advocacy Services of the Big Horns and Child Development Center Region 2.

All expressed their gratitude for the city’s support with Optional One-Cent Sales Tax funds and said their services would likely be hindered without it. Many said they rely on one-cent support to leverage additional grant money, demonstrate local community support, programming and ongoing operation costs.

The council will hold a second session with Optional One-Cent Sales Tax recipients at noon next Wednesday.

About

Hannah Wiest is the government and outdoors reporter for The Sheridan Press. She has lived in Colorado and Montana but loves her sunny home state of Wyoming best. She joined The Press staff in February 2013.

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