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Increased staffing levels sought by Grandview department heads

GRANDVIEW - In all areas things are looking good in Grandview, but department heads here say they need more staffing. That's according to discussions at a Grandview City Council retreat yesterday, Tuesday. Parks and Recreation Director Mike Carpenter said his department misses Gretchen Chronis, who served as deputy director and in a budget cut last year was moved to a deputy clerk's post at city hall. He praised the help provided by intern Eric Charvet in helping the department run more than 30 activities over the course of the year. Carpenter, however, says his department needs Chronis to return. "I am extremely hopeful that our budget situation will soon improve so that we can see the original reinstatement of original staffing to our department and community center," Carpenter said in notes to council. Carpenter also said there will be maintenance costs associated with the city's 58-year-old pool next year, such as sandblasting the bathhouse floors, painting the pool and valve replacement. "We're putting on band-aid after band-aid," he said. Librarian Elizabeth Jahnke echoed a similar theme in asking council to have one of her part-time staff members returned to full-time duty to handle increased activity. The library, which also serves YVCC, issued 676 new library cards through the first half of 2013 and had more than 17,000 checkouts/renewals of materials during that same time frame. Fire Chief Pat Mason said his volunteer department needs a third full-time employee at some point in the future. "If and when resources become available we definitely need to look at a third person for resource and training," said Mason. That, in turn, would free up time to work on mapping and pre-fire planning, as well as initiating an EMS training program for volunteers who want to focus on that area of service. Mason added that in the next five to eight years the city will need to look at replacing a fire engine and perhaps even the ladder truck due to the age of the equipment. They range in age from 16 to 18 years. Mason's comments also included a call to increase the compensation of fire fighting volunteers, which has stayed the same since 2008. Though still a few months away from finalizing a 2014 budget, city treasurer Matt Cordray says Grandview's bottom line for 2013 looks good. The outlook for 2013 overall, he says, is that Grandview should end the year with a current or general fund surplus of $32,000. By comparison, 2012 ended with the fund having a net operating loss of $9,088. In comments to open the meeting, Mayor Norm Childress thanked staff and council members for their time in taking an afternoon to look at Grandview's future. "The biggest strength we have in Grandview is partnerships," the mayor said. City Administrator Cus Arteaga expressed optimism that more street projects will receive grant funding next year, including a portion of Wine Country Road from East Stover Road to West Stover Road and part of Forsell Road from Wallace Way to Euclid Road. Arteaga said the annual $20 car tab fee has helped Grandview generate matching funds for grant monies to improve city roads. Overall, Arteaga noted Grandview's programs and infrastructure are on the right track, including a newly revitalized downtown, library and community center. He said those projects have garnered the city acclaim at state and national levels. "In the past years we have accomplished a lot. We have balanced our budgets in tough economic times and been able to maintain our reserves," he said. "There are happy people in Grandview. We've raised the bar for others to compare themselves to."

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