Summer seasonal employees for the Lake Geneva Public Works Department will be earning some extra cash starting this year.
The city council on Dec. 26 unanimously agreed to increase seasonal employee salaries by at least $2 an hour. Seasonal employees previously paid $10 an hour now will earn $12 or $13 an hour.
Alderman Ken Howell said he hopes the pay raise will encourage more people to apply for seasonal positions. In recent years, fewer people have applied because they feel they can make more money working elsewhere.
“We need to raise it a little bit to get some help,” Howell said.
Seasonal employees in the public works department mostly are responsible for mowing lawns and cleaning restrooms on city property during the summer tourism season.
Public Works Director Tom Earle said the city budgets about $26,000 a year for seasonal employees. Last year, the city only spent about $10,000 on seasonal employee salaries.
Earle said the pay raises will not affect the budget, noting that it has been about 10 years since the city had to use the full $26,000.
“As you can see, we have some room in the budget,” he said.
The public works department usually begins accepting applications for seasonal employment in February. Employees work about 40 hours a week from late May to early October, depending on their availability.
“We get a lot of college students, so they have to go back when classes start,” he said.
One seasonal worker who is a teacher at Badger High School returns to the department each summer.
“He started working for us when he attended college,” Earle said. “When he got the job at Badger, he started to work in the summer.”
Because of a shortage of seasonal workers, full-time staff has had to take over some the responsibilities during the past few years.
“The full-time employees have to fill in, which puts us behind on some of our full-time work,” Earle said.
Earle said he hopes the pay increase will help attract more candidates, as the department has had difficulty filling the seasonal positions during the past five years. Last year, the department had six seasonal employees, and the number has gone as low as two workers.
“Ten years ago, we would have to turn people away, because we would get about 22 people who would apply,” he said.
Also during the city council meeting, aldermen unanimously approved a 2-percent pay increase for management city employees, and a 1-percent pay increase for non-management employees. Non-management employees also will be eligible for a 2-percent merit pay increase.
The pay increases were included in the city’s 2019 budget.
Seasonal workers will not be eligible for the merit pay increase.