Five new city jobs will be created after the City Council unanimously voted Monday to amend the 2021 budget to include them.

The city added two new IT positions, including an Information Systems & Technology Technician and a Supervisory Control and Data Technician (SCADA).

The Information Systems & Technology Technician will cost $64,038 in wages and $23,694 in benefits.

The SCADA position will paid partly through Regional Water and Waste Water Treatment Plant funds, as the position will support utility IT systems. The expense of the position is $48,028 in wages with $16,009 coming from the utility funds, and $17,770 in benefits with $5,923 coming from the utility funds.

Staff at the Public Works Department “have been asking for this level of support for several years,” Emily Shuh, city administration director, said.

Shuh said one or two current staff members already spend a full day per week on cybersecurity work.

Councilmember Anthony Young stressed the importance of having strong cybersecurity in light of the recent ransomware attack that affected a fuel pipeline along the East Coast.

“There are things we need to do as a city to protect ourselves,” Young said.

One new firefighter paramedic position will be created for the new Mobile Integrated Healthcare Pilot Program, which may receive grant funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through 2021.

The estimated expense is $78,822 in wages and $29,164 in benefits.

There will also be two new fiber technician positions to help speed up the city’s fiber expansion. The expense of the two positions is $124,440 in wages and $64,038 in benefits.

“We will be able to do on average, four installs a day” doubling the speed, Shuh said.

Councilmember Matt Miller said he hopes the additional fiber team will be able to hit a goal of getting 1,500 costumers by the end of the year.

Councilmember Ryan Walters said he supports the additional fiber team and community paramedic program, but also said the IT positions should have been included in last year’s budgeting process.

Mayor Gere said, “I think we have people right now that have right skill sets, but they are so caught up in the day to day to keeping the systems running.”

In other city news:

• The council approved Mayor Gere’s reappointment of Deane Brazas to the Museum Advisory Board. Betsy Humphrey and Marius Hibbard were appointed to the Arts Commission.

• Mayor Gere introduced the new town crier, August Wolff, who will take over after July 4. The council approved Gere’s proclamation to allow the leaving town crier, Richard Riddell, to continue to hold an honorary title.

• The council continued to discuss changes to the Critical Areas Ordinance, exploring how the ordinance changes would impact certain development scenarios. The discussion will continue in future meetings.

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I cover health, environment, business and more at the Anacortes American. Feel free to send me tips at qinghram [at] goanacortes.com.

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