Council approves staff salary adjustment, County compost agreement

Photo by Crystal Apilado/Winters Express

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In its brief March 7 meeting, the Winters City Council passed a number of resolutions via its consent calendar, including a salary adjustment for Winters department heads and managers and the approval of a draft agreement with Yolo County Central Landfill to keep Winters compliant with California environmental legislation. 

 The first of these resolutions, numbered 2023-16, approved the salary increase for a number of city department heads and management employee groups. As stated in the staff report, this includes implementing a five percent general salary adjustment, a two percent one-time stipend, and other changes retroactive to the first full pay period of July 2022, and appropriating $36,478 from Fund 347 (American Rescue Plan Funding).

The department heads included in this adjustment are the Director of Administrative Services, the Winters Police Chief, and the Winters Fire Chief, as well as the Director of Community Development, though this position is currently “unfunded, vacant” but still an “active classification” and thus was included in the adjustment. Manager salaries being adjusted include the Building Official, Environmental Services Manager, Public Works Superintendent (also vacant), as well as the city’s Senior Accountant and Senior Planner. 

The adjustment includes extending to these employees an education incentive already enjoyed by other employees, which along with the one-time stipend will be funded through the American Rescue Plan Fund 347 until next year when City Manager Kathleen Salguero Trepa says the educational stipend will be funded through the operating budget like with other employees.

City staff had been negotiating with the affected departments since the pay period that expired in June 2022, precipitating an extension the period of 18 months from that date. During this period, “the terms and conditions” of the previous pay period’s agreements “extend(ed) until a new agreement (could be) approved by the City and the Associations.” After “meeting with the members of the Department Head and Management Employee Groups since last spring” the report affirmed that “collectively we have arrived at tentative agreements, which have been ratified by both groups.” By approving this agreement, the council concluded the negotiations and implemented the adjustments. 

The next resolution regarded approving a draft agreement with Yolo County Central Landfill Organics in order to keep Winters in line with California compost regulations.

The resolution approves a, “proposed organics agreement (that) would provide guaranteed acceptance of organic materials from Winters to Yolo County Central Landfill (YCCL) until June 30, 2026,” which can be extended via later agreements between the city and YCCL.

Trepa explained in a statement to the Express, “Under SB 1383 the City of Winters is required to procure or have procured in its name approximately 200 cubic yards of compost per calendar year.”

Trepa described these requirements as “forced market development for increased organic material,” meaning “local agencies are now required to divert more organic material from the landfill…so with the increased composted and mulched material, the State now requires local agencies to procure this material, even if we don’t need it.” 

Winters, she noted, already has its compost needs met by Mariani Nut Company walnut shells without charge, and also noted that in response to this legislation, other agencies have increased trash rates, something Winters city staff and the council are hesitant to do “as we try to comply without having to pass those increased costs to the customer base.”

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