Cascade prides itself on being a one-of-a-kind community in which to live, but as far as wages paid to city employees go, city leaders are looking at what neighboring communities pay their employees to keep Cascade wages competitive.

The Personnel Committee met June 19 in the latest of a series of meetings that at first was directed toward hiring a new police officer. After meeting with a potential candidate June 16, the committee decided to put the hiring process for a second officer on hold for the present time, due to the current often-unfavorable view pf police departments.

During the June 19 meeting, the committee agreed to develop and implement a merit-based system and a flat dollar amount wage increase for next year. The committee also discussed the wage paid to part-time officers, to hopefully entice them to take on more hours since hiring a new officer has been postponed.

By a 3-2 vote, the council approved a 2% raise to the wages and salaries for city employees for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020, and ending June 30, 2021. Councilmembers Riley Rausch and Andy Kelchen voted against it, with Rausch favoring a 1% increase now and taking another look at it in the next quarter. Kelchen was uncomfortable with 2% during a time of economic uncertainty brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent slow down.

The approved wages and salaries are:

• Deanna McCusker, city administrator, $78,030/year.

• Fred Heim, police chief, $62,400/year.

• Phil Gehl, city superintendent, $28.79/hour.

• Danielle Vanderah Hartke, city clerk, $25.43/hour.

• Part-time police officers, $25/hour.

• Marty Hoffmann, Public Works water operator, $24.89/hour.

• Ben Frasher, Public Works sewer operator, $22.34/hour.

• Melissa Kane, library director, $21.13/hour.

• Chris Felton, Public Works, $18.73/hour.

• Lee Ann Leytem, local access director, $12.32/hour.

• Rebecca Johnson, librarian, $11.73/hour.

• Jane Strang, librarian, $11.40/hour.

• Carol Cigrand, librarian, $11.40/hour.

• Joyce Kremer, librarian, $11.08/hour.