Council approves pay increases

WATSONVILLE — The Watsonville City Council approved pay increases for more than 20 positions across various departments Tuesday.

On consent agenda, the council approved new job descriptions and salary ranges for the airport, community development, finance and public works departments.

Those include updating the role of airport manager to airport director, with a salary range of $9,262.67-$12,412.88 a month, according to a report by Airport Manager Rayvon Williams.

Among many other positions, utility workers, a permit clerk, code enforcement officers and three airport operations specialists received pay increases.

Assistant City Manager Matt Huffaker said the increases were built into the two-year budget the council approved in June.

“These classifications have been in the works for several months,” he said.

Out of all the positions, only one new position, a supervising plans examiner in the Community Development Department, will be added, according to Huffaker. It will also be cost neutral, since it will be funded by increasing development fees, he noted.

Jessica Nuti, representing SEIU Local 521, said the union has been in negotiations with city management for several months. She said SEIU is hoping a new proposal brought forward Tuesday will bring the two sides closer to an agreement.

“We’re really urging you to support us in getting our workers to more livable wages,” Nuti said. “We really want our workers to come to an agreement with management.”

Also during Tuesday’s meeting, the council approved an amendment to the Watsonville Municipal Code that clarifies when professional fireworks are allowed at the Watsonville Municipal Airport.

Williams said the code had prohibited the use of fireworks at the airport. But when planning the Fire in the Sky event that was held on July 4, he said City Manager Charles Montoya found an entry in the code that permitted a professional fireworks show in the city, if it is authorized by the city manager and fire marshal.

The amendment approved Tuesday clarifies that a fireworks show is permitted at the airport if it receives the proper authorizations, cleaning up inconsistencies in the municipal code, Montoya said.

City officials estimated 8,000 people attended the inaugural Fire in the Sky event on the Fourth of July.


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