In an effort to enhance the recruitment and retention of city employees, council members approved four new employee benefit policies at the Sept. 28 Regular Meeting. Effective Oct. 1, regular full-time employees will be eligible to participate in the Catastrophic Leave Pool, take paid parental leave, and apply for tuition reimbursement. The fourth new benefit, Certification Pay, goes into effect Jan. 1, 2024.
Participation in the Catastrophic Leave Pool is voluntary and employees must contribute in order to draw from it. According to City Manager Jason Weeks, the pool benefits eligible employees who have exhausted all accrued leave due to a catastrophic injury or illness.
The Parental Leave Policy allows a mother or father to take up to three weeks of paid leave for the birth, adoption or foster care placement of a child under the age of 18.
To assist in career development, the City’s new Tuition Reimbursement Policy will reimburse up to 60% of eligible expenses annually, not to exceed $40,000 per employee during the course of their employment. Courses must be taken on personal time and result in a grade of “C” or better.
As a way to encourage advanced training, employees may receive certification stipends of up to $3,000 per year for non-public safety employees and $3,600 for police and fire department employees. In addition, fire department employees may be eligible for “step up” pay while in a supervisory role on their shift.
Budget, tax rate, fees get final nod
In two separate record votes, council approved the second reading of Ordinance No. 1029-23 adopting the $43,778,775 budget and Ordinance No. 1030-23 adopting the $0.5521 per $100 valuation tax rate.
Also, approved on second readings were Ordinance No.1031-23, amending monthly water, gas and sewer fees effective Oct. 1 and Ordinance No. 103232 amending the sanitation rates. The sanitation fee increase is a pass-through charge from Republic Services which is effective Feb. 1, 2024.
The first reading of these items was held following public hearings Sept. 11.
Other council action
•Approved the Interlocal Agreement with Grimes County for $105,000 to provide fire protection services in the unincorporated areas of Grimes County.
•Approved the City of Navasota Strategic Plan for FY 2023-24 presented at the Sept. 11 Special Meeting.
•Approved Change Order No. 1 for $7,634 for the Hollister Gas Regulator Station Replacement Project which remains under budget.
•Approved Resolution No. 748-23 designating Mayor Bert Miller, City Manager Jason Weeks and Chief Financial Officer Maribel Frank as authorized to sign checks and access accounts for certain purposes.
•Approved five new appointees and the reappointment of 23 current members to Navasota’s Boards and Commissions.
•After reconvening from Executive Session per Texas Government Code 551.072, took no action of a petition from Pecan Hill Acquisition, LLC requesting release from the City’s ETJ. See related story page 1.
•Mayor Bert Miller issued a Proclamation recognizing the week of Oct. 5 as World Teacher Day.
•Introduction of returning employee, Joe Munoz, Street & Drainage Laborer in Public Works.
•Presentation of 20-year service award to Richard Green, Public Works Utility Technician.
•Graduate Engineer John McKay gave an update on the Streets and Utilities CIP, Airport Utilities Extension Project and the Fire Hydrant Replacement Project. McKay urged residents to call the City about water leaks.
•Mayor Bert Miller announced community events slated for October and Mark Taylor from the Navasota Theatre Alliance discusses the season lineup.
View council meetings at www.navasotatx.gov/government/city_council/agendas___minutes.php.