The Ottumwa Courier

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January 24, 2013

City ‘skins the cat’ in budget cuts

Property taxes to increase slightly, streets to be prioritized

(Continued)

OTTUMWA — Additional budget requests from department heads:

Police Chief Jim Clark asked the council to consider making the Ottumwa Police Department’s two part-time dispatchers into full-time positions.

“Doing a statistical survey on their job tasks, they perform 72 job tasks per hour,” Clark said. “That’s more than one per minute. And some calls may last 10 minutes at a time.”

The communication center has generally been staffed with four full-time dispatchers and two part-time dispatchers in order to avoid paying the extra cost to provide health insurance coverage.

“Under Obamacare, the city must provide coverage to those working 30 hours or more a week, increase their hours to 40 or reduce them so they fall under the requirement,” Clark said.

He said it’s difficult to hire “competent, dedicated” part-time employees when those positions work three days per week and often have to work holidays and weekends.

“I assure you the dispatcher is one of the most stressful positions in our department,” he said.

Making the two positions into full-time staff would request nearly $17,400 more from the city.

Fire Chief Tony Miller requested to send Deputy Chief Cory Benge to the police academy for $6,000 so he can complete investigations for the fire department.

Ottumwa Regional Airport director Tom Francis plans to retire in November and requested nearly $37,400 to hire a replacement early enough to be trained.

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