Eau Claire (WQOW)- The possibility of city employees seeing a few more dollars on their paychecks passed its first hurdle on Tuesday as the Eau Claire City Council voted to move forward on a living wage ordinance.
The council was examining what it would take to mirror the living wage ordinance passed by Eau Claire County, which bumps every contracted employee up to $11.68 starting next year. On Tuesday the city began a preliminary examination of the impact a similar ordinance would have at the city level. Some members of the council questioned whether it would be the best thing, or even feasible, for the city. In the end the council voted to move forward in order to gather more information.
"I think its something that we need to recognize, that whether it's for police or fire, or whether it is to make sure clean water comes in to people's taps, these are all things that are priorities that we should be discussing. This is one that I think is very important to both people in the community, and I think to fellow council members," said Eau Claire City Council Member Andrew Werthmann.
Tuesday's meeting was just the first step. The city will now further explore the impact of the ordinance on its employees, including those who already make above the proposed amount. Staff will also be looking in to cost effects five years down the line, as well as what it would mean if the city went to wages higher than the county's $11.68.
Also on Tuesday the city council approved applying to a DNR grant that would be used to control the number of geese that call Eau Claire their permanent home. According to the city, as the public continues to feed the geese, the more comfortable they get near our parks and beaches. Now instead of migrating, the geese are staying here which can cause some area waters to test highly for bacteria, making them unsafe. If the DNR approves the grant the city plans to start some of the management efforts next spring.
City council also gave the green light for a sculpture, that's meant to light up Eau Claire. The Baroque sculpture from the Eaux Claires Music Festival will be finding a permanent home on First Avenue just north of Lake Street. The steel and wire piece was designed by a team of artists based in Italy. The city plans to fly them out next spring to put the sculpture back together at its new location.