City Council recently approved the creation of two new positions, and heard about the need for a director of the parks and natural resources department.
After a rare fourth reading on Monday, council unanimously approved legislation to hire a permanent part-time employee in the finance department.
The employee is needed “to offset the additional staff time necessary to administer the Joint Economic Development District tax and related financial transactions,” the legislation stated. The city administers a JEDD income tax with Berkshire Township. As part of the contract, “the JEDD will remit to the city an annual amount equal to 4 percent of the gross JEDD tax receipts to offset costs incurred by the city to administer the tax and provide financial administrative support to the JEDD board.”
The 30-hour a week position would pay $10,442 for the remainder of 2015; and about $21,500 in 2016.
Council also unanimously approved legislation to add a full-time position in the legal department. The attorney is needed, city officials said, “to prosecute delinquent income tax cases and to provide other legal assistance.” A council fact sheet said a diversion program for first-time tax offenders and using a law school graduate to prosecute municipal income tax cases resulted in more than $100,000 in collections and another $150,000 pledged in the diversion program. Hiring a full-time attorney in the prosecutor’s office would allow the city to increase the number of cases it files.
“This attorney will have time to help address the increasing criminal caseload at the prosecutor’s office and provide more capacity in the civil department,” the fact sheet said.
The position would pay $20,584 for the remainder of 2015 and $70,000 (including benefits) in 2016.
As of Friday, neither position had been posted on the city’s website.
Before their votes, council members heard comments from parks superintendent Stacy Davenport about hiring a department director.
Davenport said the lack of a department director “has been a challenge since 2009.” He said a parks and natural resources director would improve communication between city departments and outside organizations. “Every plan you see affects the parks department,” he said. “The sky’s the limit if we have that position.”
“The parks and natural resources department operates and maintains 24 parks, 20 miles of trails, a golf course, a 72-acre cemetery, and an urban forest consisting of more than 15,000 trees,” the city’s website said. “Parks and natural resources is organized under the public service group, which also oversees public works, engineering, public utilities and planning & community development.”
City Manager Tom Homan said Delaware hopes to fill the position in 2016.