Edmond budget parental leave
Kathy Panas, the City of Edmond's director of finance, speaks to the Edmond City Council on Monday, June 12, 2023. (Joe Tomlinson)

The Edmond City Council discussed and adopted the city’s Fiscal Year 2023-24 budget during Monday night’s four-hour meeting, implementing new pay and parental leave plans for city employees.

Monday also marked the first Edmond City Council meeting since May 22, when members unanimously approved the site plan, preliminary plat and final plat for the Uncommon Ground Sculpture Park. Less than two weeks later, however, prospective developer Hal French cited frustrations with city officials when announced he was ending his efforts to construct and donate the park to Edmond’s Park Conservancy Trust

Toward the beginning of Monday’s meeting, Edmond city manager Scot Rigby — who also came under fire from four former Edmond mayors last week — said the city has continued to work on plans related to the art-and-sculpture park, despite French’s sudden decision to back out of the project.

The city has included $500,000 in its FY 2023-24 budget to pay for the design of road improvements on North Coltrane Road, Rigby said. He also noted that the city recently gained approval from the Huntwick community’s homeowner association to use its drainage basin. The city had agreed to encumber funds for those purposes related to the proposed park at the May 22 Edmond City Council meeting.

When French pulled the plug on the Uncommon Ground Sculpture Park, both parties had been involved in negotiations surrounding a memorandum of understanding. With approval from the City Council and Planning Commission, French could reenter negotiations or transfer the property into the public trust, Rigby said.

“The park can exist today, and we hope Mr. French would reconsider his decision to bring this awesome opportunity to Edmond,” Rigby said during the meeting.

After the council adjourned late Monday evening, Rigby said he had not spoken to former Edmond Mayor Randel Shadid, who served as French’s attorney throughout the city planning process, or French since the withdrawal letter was sent to the city. Asked what he would say to them now, Rigby said the city has not made any decisions regarding items in the draft MOU, but that city leaders want French and Shadid to come back to the negotiating table.

“We’re excited for the park. The park’s been approved. Please go ahead and submit plans and let’s pick up our discussions that we had about the MOU, and let’s work through those other items,” Rigby said. “We had made no decisions on any of that. We were just trying to define those. We mutually agreed to start the MOU discussions, so we stand ready to reengage in those.”

New pay, parental leave plans approved

Ward 1 Edmond City Councilman Tom Robins speaks at the Edmond City Council meeting Monday, June 12, 2023. (Screenshot)

The Edmond City Council unanimously approved a new pay and parental leave plan for city workers Monday night, implementing a 10-step plan that increases pay for each employee by 4.6 percent of their salary on the anniversary date of their employment. The city previously deployed a 17-step plan that increased pay by 2.5 percent for each year of employment.

Additionally, the city passed a 6 percent raise to all civilian employees. These increases do not apply to Edmond’s fire and police departments.

The city contracted with JER HR Group to conduct a compensation and pay plan study for the city’s civilian positions in December.

“As a result of that benchmark study, we were 5.4 percent below market,” said Lisa Goodpasture, the city’s director of human resources.

The city’s pay plan restructure will take effect Jan. 1. The new pay plan has a roughly $2.9 million impact on the FY 24 budget.

The city’s new parental leave program will provide up to eight weeks of maternity leave and four weeks of leave for the spouse. Additionally, the program provides eight weeks leave for an employee upon placement of an adoptive child and 40 hours upon placement of a foster child. Previously, the city did not provide parental leave for employees.

Initially, Goodpasture and staff recommended six weeks of maternity leave, two weeks leave for the spouse, two weeks leave upon placement of an adoptive child and 40 hours for placement of a foster child. However, Ward 1 Councilman Tom Robins said Edmond needs to lead the Oklahoma City metropolitan area in that regard, and the leave durations were increased.

“One of the things that I love about our community in Edmond is that we understand that strong and loving families build strong communities, and that when we have strong communities and families and invest in both of those, we have great positive outcomes,” Robins said.

Robins said he believes increasing parental leave for employees will allow the city to walk their talk.

“We can’t do everything and be all things, but I think there’s a really important way that we can match our values and commitment to families — and that feeling that we have here — with our policies,” Robins said. “So, I love the direction that we’re headed — I think we can do better.”

Before seconding Ward 2 Councilman Barry Moore’s motion to increase the leave amount, Ward 3 Councilman Christin Mugg said she believes the new program would send a powerful message.

“Got to allow people to plan,” Mayor Darrell Davis said after the leave plan was approved unanimously.

Department highlights of Edmond’s FY 2024 budget

The city’s operating budget for the 2023-2024 fiscal year is about $487 million. The city anticipates receiving about $343 million in revenue throughout the fiscal year. Department highlights are listed below:

Fire and police department budgets

  • Fire: $35 million ($34.4 million in FY 2022-23)
    • Personnel: $22 million
    • Supplies: $1 million (equipment, fuel, uniforms)
    • Other services: $1 million (water flow testing, travel)
    • Capital outlay: $10 million
      • Construction of fire station No. 6: $6.7 million
      • Land purchase for future stations: $1.5 million
      • Radio tower: $900,000
      • Audio/visual (Phoenix G2 alerting, replace AV system): $500,000
      • Building improvements (access controls, storage building improvements): $400,000
  • Police: $31 million ($26.9 million in FY 2022-23)
    • Personnel: $23.5 million
    • Supplies: $2 million (fuel, uniforms, body armor, safety equipment)
    • Other services: $1 million (utility services, training, travel, building maintenance)
    • Capital outlay: $4.5 million
      • Expansion, repair and improvements to police training facility: $3.6 million
      • Radio tower: $900,000

Public Works Authority department budgets

  • Electric: $97.1 million ($95 million in FY 2022-23)
    • Personnel: $8 million
    • Supplies: $1 million
    • Wholesale electric purchases: $72 million
    • Other services: $10 million
    • Capital outlay: $6 million
      • Electric distribution construction: $3.5 million
      • Substation projects: $2.2 million
      • Radio tower: $200,000
      • Other machinery, equipment, software: $100,000
  • Water: $38.8 million ($46.2 million in FY 2022-23)
    • Personnel: $3 million
    • Supplies: $1 million
    • Other services (right-of-way fees, Logan County royalties): $6 million
    • Debt service: $15 million
    • Capital outlay: $14 million
      • Waterworks construction: $13.3 million
      • Machinery and tools: $400,000
      • Radio tower: $100,000
      • Other: $200,000
  • Wastewater: $25 million ($23.3 million in FY 2022-23)
    • Personnel: $1.4 million
    • Supplies: $500,000
    • Other services (right of way, security, consulting): $3 million
    • Capital outlay: $6 million
      • Sewer system construction: $3.6 million
      • Master plan engineering: $2 million
      • Odor control upgrades: $400,000
    • Debt service: $14 million
  • Solid waste: $8.1 million ($7.7 million in FY 2022-23)
    • Personnel: $2 million
    • Supplies: $1 million
    • Other services: $5 million
      • Landfill disposal fees: $3.1 million
      • Recycling contract fees: $1.7 million
      • Hazardous waste disposal: $200,000

(Correction: This article was updated at 4:58 p.m. Tuesday, June 13, to correct reference to the pay plan’s financial impact on the FY 24 budget. NonDoc regrets this error.)