Compared to their peers in the area, most Scandia city employees might be underpaid.

That was the preliminary conclusion the Scandia City Council heard last week about a Classification and Compensation Study being conducted by Baker Tilly, formerly Springsted Inc., a human relations consulting firm.

The study examined the actual job responsibilities of each of the city’s nine employees and compared them against the existing job descriptions for each employee. The study then compared salaries of employees in similar roles in 23 cities in the region, including Centerville, Chisago City and Lindstrom.

The council authorized the study last year to address potential pay equity issues and to provide city staff with updated job descriptions, some of which haven’t been revised in a decade.

In particular, the study found that the city’s public works director and city administrator were the most underpaid of all city staff. According to one part of the study, the public works director’s wages fell 41.87 percent below the midpoint of the comparable market rate, while the city administrator’s wages landed 28.25 percent below the midpoint.       

Across the board, the firm recommended three options for adjusting the staff pay ranges, with the minimum adjustment of an $18,857 increase for the two employees who currently fall below the minimum comparable pay ranges; and up to $68,081 for across-the-board increases, taking into account each employee’s years of service.

A full executive summary of the study is still pending.

In the short term, City Administrator Neil Soltis, who is retiring in May, suggested that the council could have a discussion with its recruitment firm to address the pay rate for the soon-to-be-hired administrator.

As for the rest of the city staff, “that may be a 2020 budget discussion,” Soltis said.

2019 Assessments

Most Scandia homeowners will likely see a jump in their assessed property values this year.

Across the board Scandia property values went up 10.9 percent, with residential properties rising 11.3 percent. Those figures were based on the open market sales of 43 properties from October 2017 to September 2018. 

Because the entire city is seeing an increase, Soltis noted that the increases likely wouldn’t affect property taxes if the city continues to hold the line on its local tax levy.

Other business:

• The council granted a temporary easement to Jim and Ann Gribble to use the city’s T-ball field off Oakhill Road to access the rear of their property to replace a septic system. The Gribbles will be responsible for grading and reseeding the portion of the field that is utilized, if needed.

• The council reviewed an initial report on the Tourism Study conducted by the University of Minnesota Extension Tourism Center. The city’s Economic Development Authority will be holding a Business Breakfast to discuss the results in depth on April 24.

The next Scandia City Council meeting will be held April 16 at 7 p.m.

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