TEMPLETON – The Templeton County Board of Public Utilities has approved a plan to upgrade the Evers Sports Park and changes to the county’s pay schedule that will result in some increases from January 2021.

Re-elected directors Navid Fardanesh, Pam Giardini and Debra Logan were sworn in at the beginning of the three-hour meeting. The board also chose Logan as chairman and Wayne Peterson as vice-chairman and thanked Past Chair Jeff English for his service. The Board of Directors reorganizes itself every year.

Templeton Fire Department held a pinning ceremony for Kyle Root, his first full-time paid technician.

Caroline Bingham of BrightView presented the Council with a design plan for the improvement of the Evers Sports Park.

It’s got a lot of potential, Mr Bingham said about the park. We could see how much the people who were there loved him and how everyone talked about him.

BrightView’s detailed plan includes suggestions for adding features where needed and for improving existing site functionality to maximize the potential of the site.

Evers Sports Park is located at 38 Gibson Street in Templeton. Facilities include toilets, parking, two softball pitches, a football pitch only available during the football season, field lighting and a lawn. The draft plan was developed after BrightView had visited the park, met Templeton’s CSD staff and studied the CSD recreation master plan.

The plan identifies eight site options – entrance, play, parking, gathering area, traffic, lighting and fitness – and provides detailed information, including expected costs, for each area of the overall concept.

The project lists 13 specific improvement projects – Pedestrian Place ($145,000), Hillside Place ($38,000), Parking #1 ($134,000) and #2 ($144,000), Arrival Place ($260,000), Lot #1 ($55,000) and Lot #1 ($55,000). The budget shall include Research field ($35,000) and 2 ($35,000), border roads ($269,000), lawn replacement ($680,000), sports field lighting ($153,000), gym ($89,000) and flexible playgrounds and sports fields ($455,000).

Each improvement project contained detailed information, photos and graphs. The plan included an overview of the expected cost of each upgrade by post.

In the design of the improvement plan for the Evers Sports Park, each project is given a high, medium and low priority. The evaluation indicator for project prioritisation covers five areas: community project, health, safety and welfare, cost, constructability and timing.

The oblique race, the finish race and the perimeter race got a high score. The lighting of the sports field, terrain 2, terrain 1, the reconnaissance field, parking lots 1 and 2, the finish area and the fitness area were given moderate priority. The flexible field and turf replacement was given low priority.

After the approval of Plan 5-0 by the directors, CSTD General Manager Jeff Briltz indicated that the district had the means to complete the boundary, the slope and the arrival tracks and to complete the elements of the playground exploration plan. Directors asked Mr. Brillz for more information about the budget and schedule.

I like the long term plan, and I like the different projects and the way they prioritise, Mr. Fardanesh said. I think we have enough money in the budget to take a big step forward on those priorities and to make a change relatively quickly. I think it’s a great opportunity to improve the park. It would be great for the community.

After an hour-long discussion, the directors adopted a remuneration philosophy and decision that adjusted the district’s salary scale based on the 2020 remuneration study, which showed that some jobs in the district were in many cases well below the median compared to 10 comparable agencies in the district.

The completed study was presented to the directors in August and the staff were commissioned to develop a progressive salary adjustment plan. The investigation showed that MTCRD underpaid its employees – in one case up to 26% below the median.

The first round of multiannual and progressive adjustments will enter into force on 1 January 2021 and is already included in the budget for the financial year 2020-21.

For 2021-22 and beyond, additional resources will have to be programmed for the Solid Waste Fund, the Administrative Fund and the Parks and Recreation Fund in order to continue to meet growing needs.

The estimated cost for the first adjustment was $103,190. The total cost of the project is $13.5 million per year.

The CST staff indicated that it has been at least 13 years since the last salary study was carried out. These studies determine the market value of each position, establish reference salaries, suggest fair salary scales for executives and ensure internal parity. In order to remain competitive, it is recommended that organisations carry out a compensation evaluation every three years.

All five directors agreed that the employees were underpaid. Not everyone agrees that this is the right time for a wage adjustment.

We don’t pay our employees enough, and that’s what worries me, too, Logan. It’s not just the employees. They’re assets. We postponed school for a year, and I don’t want to put it on hold.

Director Giardini was the only one who voted against the fee and said she wanted to wait and see when they will work on the budget for 2021-22.

Mr Giardini knew that the money had been budgeted for the current financial year. She was worried about the next few years. It fears that the wage increase will lead to redundancies if the province cannot continue to support the adjustment.

I think our employees are grossly underpaid. This is the result of the research we’ve done, Giardini said. I don’t understand why we only have to wait six months to get into a 21-22 budget and see if we can really afford these wage increases without having to lay off employees.

The four votes on the compensation study, including one on the CEO’s remuneration, were cast four to one.

The directors also approved the 5-0 to replace the pump and pipes for the deep well of the Creekside for $50,000.

The next meeting of the Board of Directors of the CSTD will take place in January 2021.

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