Winter Park approves wage increase for staff
Winter Park approved an across-the-board raise for town staff that had initially been paused due to the coronavirus pandemic’s expected impact on the budget.
On Tuesday, the council unanimously approved a 3% wage increase for Winter Park employees. The increase will be retroactive to January, including the town manager and police department. The the raises will cost the town about $120,000.
“Please let everyone know how great of a job they’ve done,” Winter Park Mayor Nick Kutrumbos said to town staff on Tuesday.
Finance Director Lizbeth Lemley said the town’s budget rebounded during a successful winter season after the pandemic cut into sales tax revenues in the early part of 2020.
As a result of the downturn, Winter Park didn’t budget a raise and town staff were the only municipal employees to not receive an increase for 2021, Lemley said.
“Due to the fact that when we did the budget, we had so much uncertainty about how our winter would play out and the COVID financial impact, we didn’t propose any raises for staff at that time,” Lemley said. “The council asked us to re-review after ski season and I’m happy to say that … we had a really successful winter, more so than we had budgeted.”
In addition to the raises, council updated the 2021 budget to reflect expenditures over the budgeted amounts and some transfers between town funds. The transit fund was also adjusted to add expenses for two new buses and purchasing a piece of land for the transit maintenance facility.
The affordable housing fund was updated to reflect the increased cost of infrastructure for the Hideaway Junction neighborhood and repairs at the Hideaway Place apartments. The capital projects fund was adjusted for expenses related to the public works facility.
Council also approved updating the general fund to add a staff member to oversee short-term rentals and a potential role for sustainability, should the town receive grant funding to offset the cost of that employee. The cost of implementing the new marijuana ordinance was also added to the general fund expenses.
In other business:
• Council approved special event permits for summer events hosted by the Winter Park Fraser Chamber of Commerce and Cooper Creek Square, as well as the Alpine Art Affair and the G3 bike race.
• A second reading of the marijuana ordinance and the first reading of a marijuana fee schedule were tabled over concerns about using a lottery system to decide which businesses would get the three marijuana licenses in Winter Park. Council is expected to discuss the licensing process and fee schedule at the July 6 meeting and workshop.
• A preliminary plat for the Jane Creek condos was approved with several conditions. The project would bring 42 two and three bedroom units to Iron Horse Way.
• Council approved the rezoning of Kings Crossing Plaza from residential commercial district to destination center district.
• A request for an extension of service on the Red Line of the Lift for four new stops in Rendezvous was denied due to lack of public support.
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An explosion of short-term rentals, along with hundreds of violations related to the properties, has Grand County commissioners considering a moratorium on new licenses, as well as stricter policies and enforcement.