The Belle Fourche City Council showed support for Mayor Randy Schmidt’s decision to put together a wages and benefits task force.
This task force will research and create appropriate pay scales, as well as update job descriptions for city jobs.
“We’re just rebalancing the pay scales themselves,” said Jason LaFayette, the finance officer for Belle Fourche. “We have to start with the scales and align those in a way that fits everyone’s current wages. This way, next year, we can have a plan going into budget, whereas, this year, there was a lot of back and forth.”
“I’d like to have a tentative deadline of July 21 to have this done,” said Schmidt. “I want it to be pretty well ironed out before we start our budget sessions.”
LaFayette said that the city has been working towards updating these things for some time now.
“We’ve made leaps and bounds from last year. We’ve studied other cities to see what their wages are for positions,” He explained. “Belle Fourche is a smaller market, but its still a first-class municipality. There are several municipalities that pay hands and fists above what Belle Fourche pays, and we came to a point where we were losing employees to Spearfish and Sturgis, because they could do the same job for more money. They (Spearfish and Sturgis) don’t have the residency requirements that Belle Fourche does, so they (Belle Fourche residents) can work there.”
The mayor has yet to choose exactly who will be on the task force, but it will likely include three council members, the city administrator, the finance officer, and the human resources manager.