City payroll grows with approval of new positions

As the City of Red Deer grows, so does its workforce.

As the City of Red Deer grows, so does its workforce.

During last week’s operating budget debate, city council approved 44 new full-time equivalent positions.

Of those new positions, 10 are fire-medics. Six more are police officers, and the RCMP will also hire three support workers. Five new staff members will work in the Parks Department and another six will work in the expanded water and wastewater treatment plants.

That will bring the total to 1,447 employees on the city’s payroll.

The total number of city staff includes those who work full-time and part-time.

The city also hires contractors for construction, roads and other specialized projects.

Last year, the city added 21 employees to the roster during budget deliberations.

City manager Craig Curtis said more jobs were added this year in order to meet the fire contract response standards, to work in the newly expanded water and wastewater plants and to work within the beefed-up snow and ice removal program.

“I don’t anticipate the same number next year,” said Curtis. “I think it is important to relate to those primary five areas of need that were identified to council in their guidelines to us — police, fire, public works, parks and the two plants.”

Staffing accounts for $131.4 million or 40 per cent of the approved $330.6-million operating budget for 2015.

There were also positions added in Inspections and Licensing, which gets a new safety code and development officer.

A new transit driver was also approved.

A resource person will work part-time on city grants and part-time with the 2019 Canada Winter Games Society.

City council will also receive part-time administrative staff support for the first time.

Later this year, the city will conduct an employee engagement study or pulse check with staff, the first since 2009.

Human Resources director Kristy Svoboda said the City of Red Deer is an excellent place to work.

“We have a very caring organization,” she said. “Just as the city is in growth, so is the organization. You can work for a variety of different organizations. You can choose where you work but often it is the people that make the difference. I would say that about the City of Red Deer.”

Red Deer’s population is 98,585, according to the 2014 city census. About 1.5 per cent of the population works for the city.