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Columbia City Council approves increase in pay for some sanitation workers

Columbia City Council Chambers
KMIZ
Columbia City Council Chambers

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

Some Columbia sanitation workers are getting a raise with the passage of the city's fiscal 2021 budget.

The Columbia City Council approved on a 6-1 vote Monday night an amendment that adds $5 per hour in additional pay for trash collectors.

The amendment also mandates the use of city-provided trash bags and provides residential customers two bags a week. Any additional bags will cost the trash customer extra.

The change will also require scheduling for bulky items starting in November, and there will be an 85 cent rate increase per month to cover additional the pay raise. Lastly, the city will add a code enforcement specialist to its Community Development Department.

Other budget amendments approved Monday will restore cuts to the Solid Waste Utility budget and restore black trash bags provided by the city.

Steve Hunt, the Solid Waste Utility manager said residential curbside recycling collection will resume when there is enough staff to fill the positions.

Ward 1 Councilwoman Pat Fowler said the pay increase will help get the city out of this hole.

"However we got there we need to get ourselves out of there," she said. "Here's one way to get there that benefits our employees that draws more people into working for Solid Waste."

But Ward 5 Councilman Matt Pitzer did not believe the pay increases would permanently fix the trash collection issues.

"It will put a Band-Aid on something for a few months maybe if we are lucky, but the root of the problem is that what we are doing right now does not work," he said.

Pitzer said everyone deserves a raise, but that doesn't mean it's the answer.

"I cannot support singling out one small group of employees and giving them a raise because we are not willing to make the difficult choice that really needs to be made," he said.

The pay increase is retroactive to Sunday. The fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

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Zola Crowder

Zola Crowder joined the ABC 17 News team as a multimedia journalist in June 2020 after graduating from the University of Missouri with a broadcast journalism degree. Before reporting at ABC 17, Zola was a reporter at KOMU where she learned to cover politics, crime, education, economics and more.

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