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Galt City Council members considered how to handle litter from the Galt Market that gets into neighborhoods. While plastic bags were the focus, staff said packaging materials make up much of the trash.

At their May 2 meeting, Galt City Council members discussed how to handle litter left behind around the Galt Market Grounds and approved salary schedule changes for the city’s directors and police chief.

Galt Market plastic bags

Looking into the issue of litter around the Galt Market, council members requested to hear more from vendors and the city’s waste processor.

Galt Council Member Shawn Farmer asked staff in February to research plastic bag usage at the market, citing complaints about plastic bags littering yards and trees after market days.

Special Events Manager Jackie Garcia said city staff has investigated the issue and found more packaging than bags. She explained that this trash comes from customers unboxing items in the parking lot before putting the items in their vehicles.

She noted that the San Jose Flea Market, Denio’s Farmers Market and Delta Farmers Market have no policies banning plastic bags.

Farmer said he wants to address the litter issue in order to beautify the city.

“There’s a great amount of garbage, specifically plastic bags, that do exit the market grounds,” Farmer said. He commended the Parks and Recreation Department for putting “your best foot forward” by picking up trash out of people’s yards. However, he wanted to address the cause of the problem, and he questioned whether customers, rather than vendors, could be the main source of the litter.

“I think looking at some kind of plan to phase these types bags out of usage by our vendors is not a monumental task. I think it would be very simple,” Farmer said, suggesting providing reusable or recyclable bags.

Mayor Jay Vandenburg proposed warning vendors not to litter while providing garbage cans for them to use.

Parks and Recreation Director Armando Solis said that a plastic bag ban would be unlikely to keep neighborhoods cleaner or cut down on the workload for parks and rec employees. He said staff could evaluate the cost of a recycling program.

During public comment, resident Kenneth Lee suggested selling Galt-branded reusable bags, which interested some council members. Garcia said the city does this currently.

Council Member Rich Lozano asked for staff to seek input from vendors. Farmer and Council Member Kevin Papineau also wanted to hear from vendors. Council also supported getting feedback from Cal-Waste Recovery Systems on handling plastic-bag waste.

Director salaries raised

Finance Director Matthew Boring presented updated salary schedules for the city’s management staff — the city’s five directors and the chief of police. The schedules lay out ranges of salaries based on factors like experience. While Council authorized the changes, Vandenburg voted against them.

According to the staff report, the updates are designed to “increase market competitiveness over the next two years.” The first increase is set for this month, and the second will come in May 2024.

Contracts approved by Council in October and November with union and nonunion employees had similar salary updates, set to take effect over three years instead of two.

Once complete, the changes will have the greatest impact on the human resources director, whose salary increases from a range of $8,700-$10,600 per month to $11,100-$13,500 — a raise of about 27% that brings the position in line with the parks and recreation director.

The police chief’s pay will also rise significantly, from nearly $11,700-$14,200 per month to $13,100-$15,900 — a roughly 12% increase. The chief will continue to be the highest-compensated of the management positions at each salary step.

Boring said the updates are projected to cost close to $75,000 over the next two years.

Farmer noted that the increases, as well as the ones for other employees, were based on a salary study from 2022 that evaluated all full-time positions against comparable roles in other jurisdictions. The increases are intended to bring the management salaries to within 9% of the median. Farmer asked that the salary study results be added to the meeting’s staff report for the benefit of the public; Vandenburg agreed with the idea.

Lozano noted that Council intends to reevaluate the management salary schedule before the end of the two years.

Council approved the updates 4-1, with Vandenburg opposed.

Other business

Galt Chief of Police Brian Kalinowski presented the 2021-22 annual report for the Measure R Independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee. The fund was boosted by higher-than-expected sales tax revenue. Kalinowski noted that the committee had met only twice in fiscal year 2021-22 out of four planned meetings, because of lack of a quorum. Farmer said it is important for committee members and applicants to know the “magnitude” of attending meetings. View the Herald’s coverage of the report, which the committee approved at its most recent meeting, in the May 3 print issue or online at (case sensitive).

Council voted unanimously amended the Commission on Aging bylaws to define it as “an advocate to the City Council on senior issues.” The commission formally requested the change in March and has said being classified solely as a “forum” for older adults limits its ability to help older adults who voice concerns about their treatment in local housing developments.