If you're a city employee, you're smiling today.

On Thursday night, the Kodiak City Council voted unanimously in favor of a new public employee pay scale that includes raises and benefit increases, bringing the city up to market averages for pay.

"This puts us in a much better position, and it's still reasonable, and I do believe it's a sustainable increase," said city manager Aimee Kniaziowski.

The new pay scale will cost the city $504,000 more per year than its existing pay scale, but city councilors said it's worth the price to keep trained, experienced personnel who otherwise will seek higher-paying jobs elsewhere.

"I think this will go toward helping us attract people who are qualified and will stay in Kodiak," said councilman John Whiddon.

Councilman Gabriel Saravia added, "We're not giving the money away to the people because we like it; services cost money. It costs more money to train new people than to keep the people we have."

The plan approved by the city council was one of seven options proposed by Fox Lawson and Associates after several months of analysis and research. The option chosen by the council was the median option in terms of expense to the city, and none of the other six choices were considered.

In other business, the council approved a proposal by MorphoTrust USA Inc., a federal contractor, to rent the disused police substation in the bathroom building at the corner of Marine Way and Shelikof Street.

MorphoTrust is a contractor for the Transportation Security Administration, which is setting up temporary offices in rural Alaska to renew port worker cards. The rental contract is expected to last five months, and city councilors eagerly approved the proposal, which some said Tuesday night is a way to prevent vandalism of what is otherwise a haven for drunks.

The city council also:

* proclaimed May 5-11 municipal clerks week;

* approved a $246,000 supplemental budget appropriation to cover expenses and grants already approved;

* authorized the Kodiak Chamber of Commerce to use public property to hold Crab Fest;

* postponed a proposal from the Chamber to hold a regular community market on the Kodiak harbor spit;

* permitted the Kodiak Garden Club to hold its basket plant sale June 8 at the Baranof Park ice rink;

* named the new library the Kodiak Public Library;

* and approved a $30,000 contract amendment with CH2MHill for sewage sludge consultation.

The city council next meets May 4 for an all-day work session to review the city's draft budget for fiscal year 2014.

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