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Rant Lowest salaries for planning jobs that you've seen

The Terminator

Cyburbian
Messages
1,602
Points
22
Just so I can understand, what is your beef with Ohio? Is it that we ONLY are the 7th largest state? Is it that we have such good football teams? It couldn't be our State Rock Song "Hang on Sloopy". Is it Neil Armstrong or Thomas Edison? The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? I bet it is the Amish. Maybe it is airplanes? You don't like that we invented a way to flyover our state? Or is it that we perfected the chili dog? The best roller coaster park in the United States? I bet it is all our culture and activity. ;)

I am just confused as to why you think living in Ohio is living in the middle of nowhere. Because, ummm, it isn't.

Ps. There are some pretty cool places in the United States that aren't NYC or Chicago. I would argue planning in these other places is better than NYC or Chicago, or LA. Your experience in NYC will be very different than in Kentucky. Or Missouri. Or Alabama. Or New Mexico. Or Kansas. I would guess those planners in the "middle of nowhere" do much more good for the general welfare of residents on a daily basis, than any plan reviewer in department 541 of NYC Planning.

Alright I am off my high horse now. Carry on with your hatred of the Midwest.
Haha months later and I just saw this lol.

I agree with your assessment about doing better work for the general welfare outside of big cities. Your comment about NYC DCP is spot on (they are so ineffectual at actual PLANNING rather than Zoning it makes me want to pull my hair out) but I stand by what I think about Ohio. I will never live or work there.

I dont hate the midwest, just Ohio. I love Michigan and Minnesota.
 

Richmond Jake

You can't fight in here. This is the War Room!
Messages
18,313
Points
44
Check the last post on the Jobs Board. A department of one. :not:
 

Lowland

Cyburbian
Messages
119
Points
6
Cheboygan County is currently recruiting for a Planner to fill an opening in the department. This is a full-time position with responsibilities that include: Assisting with amendments to the Master Plan, seeking compliance with Part 91 Soil Erosion and Sedimentation laws, preparing zoning amendments, and conducting special planning studies. Assist with maintaining, administering, and enforcing adopted land-use codes; reviewing and approving zoning permits; reviewing commercial site plans, special use permits, and variances; conducting planning outreach to the townships; and representing the County at Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals meetings.

Requirements: Bachelor’s degree in Community Planning or a degree in a closely-related field from an accredited college or university and prefer a minimum of one year related work experience; a thorough knowledge of planning and enforcement principles, state planning laws, and computer mapping. Must be able to obtain Comprehensive Soil Erosion & Sedimentation Control Certification within 6 months.

Starting Wage: $16.78/hour. Cheboygan County offers a comprehensive benefits package including one-person medical insurance coverage and a comprehensive retirement program.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,901
Points
57
Cheboygan County is currently recruiting for a Planner to fill an opening in the department. This is a full-time position with responsibilities that include: Assisting with amendments to the Master Plan, seeking compliance with Part 91 Soil Erosion and Sedimentation laws, preparing zoning amendments, and conducting special planning studies. Assist with maintaining, administering, and enforcing adopted land-use codes; reviewing and approving zoning permits; reviewing commercial site plans, special use permits, and variances; conducting planning outreach to the townships; and representing the County at Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals meetings.

Requirements: Bachelor’s degree in Community Planning or a degree in a closely-related field from an accredited college or university and prefer a minimum of one year related work experience; a thorough knowledge of planning and enforcement principles, state planning laws, and computer mapping. Must be able to obtain Comprehensive Soil Erosion & Sedimentation Control Certification within 6 months.

Starting Wage: $16.78/hour. Cheboygan County offers a comprehensive benefits package including one-person medical insurance coverage and a comprehensive retirement program.
But the actual workload is probably pretty light. There's likely not much going on in the County, unless you're doing planning review for the City as well...maybe it increases a tad.

Also, you can buy a nice house in the City for $40,000 dollars. :p
 

mercdude

Cyburbian
Messages
235
Points
8
To add to this thread: I was offered a planning department head position in a rural eastern Montana county a few years ago. You know, right in the middle of the bakken oil field nonsense. Their offer? 40,000 when their community's median housing was set around $400k. I got a slightly better offer even deeper into the bakken oil fields via City of Wiliston for 50,000 with subsidized housing - and I took it... only to change my mind and head back towards civilization.
 
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Reactions: Dan

bentobox34

Cyburbian
Messages
64
Points
4
Cheboygan County offers a comprehensive benefits package including one-person medical insurance coverage and a comprehensive retirement program.
Inconceivable for me as my current insurance covers myself, spouse and 2 kids. Even if houses were free it wouldn't pencil.
 

WSU MUP Student

Cyburbian
Messages
10,585
Points
46
Cheboygan County is currently recruiting for a Planner to fill an opening in the department. This is a full-time position with responsibilities that include: Assisting with amendments to the Master Plan, seeking compliance with Part 91 Soil Erosion and Sedimentation laws, preparing zoning amendments, and conducting special planning studies. Assist with maintaining, administering, and enforcing adopted land-use codes; reviewing and approving zoning permits; reviewing commercial site plans, special use permits, and variances; conducting planning outreach to the townships; and representing the County at Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals meetings.

Requirements: Bachelor’s degree in Community Planning or a degree in a closely-related field from an accredited college or university and prefer a minimum of one year related work experience; a thorough knowledge of planning and enforcement principles, state planning laws, and computer mapping. Must be able to obtain Comprehensive Soil Erosion & Sedimentation Control Certification within 6 months.

Starting Wage: $16.78/hour. Cheboygan County offers a comprehensive benefits package including one-person medical insurance coverage and a comprehensive retirement program.
Inconceivable for me as my current insurance covers myself, spouse and 2 kids. Even if houses were free it wouldn't pencil.
Yeah, the rest of that listing really didn't seem too bad to me based on the region, cost of living, 1-year of work experience, and potential workload, but that insurance covering just the employee was something I had never seen before. Especially from a government employer.
 

freeyoke

Member
Messages
4
Points
0
Here's one I've run across this week.

Transportation Planner - RCRPC Planner III

Richland County Regional Planning Commission

The Richland County Regional Planning Commission is a transportation and land use planning organization that also serves as the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Richland County, Ohio. This is an entry level position to lead and assist in the collection, analysis and reporting of data in support of the work of the Regional Planning Commission and the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)

Essential functions of this Job include: Act as lead planner in Regional Transit Planning activities Responsible for collecting and analyzing data for various systems / programs for regional transportation, land use and comprehensive planning Assist in maintaining required documents of the MPO (Prospectus/LRTP/TIP) Collaborates with outside agencies and organizations to coordinate and complete projects that increase accessibility and mobility Write and/or revise reports and plans, create visual aids in form of maps, charts, etc. to communicate the work of the MPO and RCRPC.

The qualified individual will need to have: Knowledge of the principles, methods and practices of regional transportation planning. Ability to make informed professional recommendations and develop innovative approaches and ideas Effective graphic, verbal, numeric and written communication skills Comfortable in the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) software (preferably ESRI products), use of office software (preferably Microsoft products: Word, Excel, Access and PowerPoint) Bachelor’s degree in urban planning, geography, GIS or a related field is preferred. 1-2 years of related relevant experience, or any combination of education and experience that provides the applicant with the desired skills, knowledge, and abilities required to perform the job.
Starting Yearly Salary Range - $30,000 - $36,000 based on experience Complete benefits– OPERS retirement, health/dental/vision insurance, vacation, sick leave, life insurance Full Time - 35 Hour work week
 

WSU MUP Student

Cyburbian
Messages
10,585
Points
46
Here's one I've run across this week.

Transportation Planner - RCRPC Planner III

Richland County Regional Planning Commission

The Richland County Regional Planning Commission is a transportation and land use planning organization that also serves as the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Richland County, Ohio. This is an entry level position to lead and assist in the collection, analysis and reporting of data in support of the work of the Regional Planning Commission and the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)...

Starting Yearly Salary Range - $30,000 - $36,000 based on experience Complete benefits– OPERS retirement, health/dental/vision insurance, vacation, sick leave, life insurance Full Time - 35 Hour work week
This is another example of a starting salary really not being too terrible when you take into account the cost of living and the income figures in the particular region. I've been through that area quite a bit over the years and judging by a quick search of some recent figures, that salary range would put the employee well above the area's PCI and they should easily be able to afford housing there or just about anywhere in the surrounding counties.

However... $30k - $36k as a range doesn't sound like it's leaving too much room for growth. If I were an applicant, I'd be sure to ask about opportunities for advancement/promotions or I'd just be coming into the position looking at it as a stepping stone to another agency, private firm, or a larger community. This is where it would be important to ask the interviewer the, "How long was my predecessor in this position? Where are they now?" questions.
 

The One

Cyburbian
Messages
8,289
Points
30
HA!

Yeah...ok. Since the rest of Ohio is getting shafted on salary this may look ok....but DON'T Call it a Planner III Since when is a Planner III "entry level?"

Here's one I've run across this week.

Transportation Planner - RCRPC Planner III

Richland County Regional Planning Commission

The Richland County Regional Planning Commission is a transportation and land use planning organization that also serves as the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Richland County, Ohio. This is an entry level position to lead and assist in the collection, analysis and reporting of data in support of the work of the Regional Planning Commission and the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)

Essential functions of this Job include: Act as lead planner in Regional Transit Planning activities Responsible for collecting and analyzing data for various systems / programs for regional transportation, land use and comprehensive planning Assist in maintaining required documents of the MPO (Prospectus/LRTP/TIP) Collaborates with outside agencies and organizations to coordinate and complete projects that increase accessibility and mobility Write and/or revise reports and plans, create visual aids in form of maps, charts, etc. to communicate the work of the MPO and RCRPC.

The qualified individual will need to have: Knowledge of the principles, methods and practices of regional transportation planning. Ability to make informed professional recommendations and develop innovative approaches and ideas Effective graphic, verbal, numeric and written communication skills Comfortable in the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) software (preferably ESRI products), use of office software (preferably Microsoft products: Word, Excel, Access and PowerPoint) Bachelor’s degree in urban planning, geography, GIS or a related field is preferred. 1-2 years of related relevant experience, or any combination of education and experience that provides the applicant with the desired skills, knowledge, and abilities required to perform the job.
Starting Yearly Salary Range - $30,000 - $36,000 based on experience Complete benefits– OPERS retirement, health/dental/vision insurance, vacation, sick leave, life insurance Full Time - 35 Hour work week
 

Rygor

Cyburbian
Messages
2,760
Points
18
Yeah...ok. Since the rest of Ohio is getting shafted on salary this may look ok....but DON'T Call it a Planner III Since when is a Planner III "entry level?"
EXACTLY! I was thinking the same thing! What is a Planner 1, then? The person who shines everyone's shoes and gets the office coffee and donuts? Is Planner II a step up where you get to do menial data entry or man the front desk? :not::p
 

WSU MUP Student

Cyburbian
Messages
10,585
Points
46
In these parts, Planner III would generally be the entry level position, then you would move up to Planner II, Planner I, Planner, and Senior Planner. I always thought it was backwards that the "III" would be the lowest position in the series.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
18,700
Points
69
:yell: Name and shame! Name and shame!

I always said that Pennsylvania has the worst planning salaries in the United States, bar none. Here's proof, from the APA Pennsylvania Chapter Web site.
The City of Lock Haven is seeking a qualified and experienced individual to serve the community as the City Planner & Development Coordinator. ...

[snip]

Salary range is between $35-$45,000 per year and includes a competitive benefits package ...
For experience, they want ...
... a Bachelor’s degree in Planning, Community Development, or English with understanding and experience in several aspects of the following:

Planning:
  • Administer the City’s Zoning, Subdivision and Land Development ordinances
  • Administer the City’s Comprehensive Plan
  • Administer the Historic District Advisory Committee
  • Liaison to the City Planning Commission
  • Administer the City’s Zoning, Subdivision and Land Development ordinances

Development:
  • Application and administration of grants from State and local governments, agencies and foundations
  • Administer community compliance plans (Section 504 ADA, EEOC, Fair Housing, etc.)
  • Administer City’s Commercial Loan Program and Sidewalk Repair Grant/Loan Program
  • Coordinate the City’s Community Development Block Grant programs with grant administrator SEDA-COG
Application materials?
Interested applicants should submit (1) cover letter, (2) resume, (3) writing sample, (4) list of grants applied for and awarded over the past 2 yeaes
This isn't an entry level position. They're looking for a somewhat experienced planner with experience in current planning, comp planning, historic preservation, community development, and grant writing.

Your work? Be a planning director, and work to get millions of dollars of federal and state grants. For all that, you get $35K and the usual benefits -- the same as an assistant night manager at a Sheetz or whatever.

No.
 

arcplans

As Featured in "High Times"
Messages
6,656
Points
32
:yell: Name and shame! Name and shame!

I always said that Pennsylvania has the worst planning salaries in the United States, bar none. Here's proof, from the APA Pennsylvania Chapter Web site.


For experience, they want ...


Application materials?


This isn't an entry level position. They're looking for a somewhat experienced planner with experience in current planning, comp planning, historic preservation, community development, and grant writing.

Your work? Be a planning director, and work to get millions of dollars of federal and state grants. For all that, you get $35K and the usual benefits -- the same as an assistant night manager at a Sheetz or whatever.

No.
Umm.. yea.. pass.. shiz.. I make 2.75 that and don't even have to do half that work.
 

glutton

Cyburbian
Messages
473
Points
12
I always said that Pennsylvania has the worst planning salaries in the United States, bar none. Here's proof, from the APA Pennsylvania Chapter Web site.

Your work? Be a planning director, and work to get millions of dollars of federal and state grants. For all that, you get $35K and the usual benefits -- the same as an assistant night manager at a Sheetz or whatever.

No.
Damn. I can echo this - my entry level municipal first planning job in Pennsylvania (for a biggish city too, not even a small town) was $42,500) for a Planner II. I made it work by living in a bedroom of someone else's house and paying $600 in rent and putting next to nothing towards retirement because they only encouraged us to contribute 6% towards pension.
 

Rygor

Cyburbian
Messages
2,760
Points
18
Aaaaaaaaand this is why I got out of planning/ED. Too much stress and politics for too little money. I actually did love my old ED job working for a nice mid-sized midwestern college town. Got to be involved in some interesting projects, wore a lot of hats, had lots of input into projects and strategies, managed some cool projects, had a GREAT boss (now retired), and it was honestly pretty easy for me, but I would have had to work there until I was 70 to be able to have even a modest retirement. Nope. Not gonna do it.
 

glutton

Cyburbian
Messages
473
Points
12
Aaaaaaaaand this is why I got out of planning/ED.... but I would have had to work there until I was 70 to be able to have even a modest retirement. Nope. Not gonna do it.
Yeah the pension system works if you're 40+ and plan to stay there for a decade or two, but if you're 22 and starting out, having to stay at an employer for 40 years for a pension isn't really an attainable or even imaginable benefit for many younger planners.
 

Planit

Cyburbian
Messages
13,146
Points
54
Not quite glutton...at least in NC.

You have to work 30 years in the state retirement system, which in NC you can move between cities, counties, and state agencies who all pay into the same system. So to start working at 22 in City A, then after 5 years or so move to City B. Not a good fit so after a year move to City C and work there for 10 years...do this until you have 30 years of service and you can retire at 52 from public service. Then if you work for a consultant or in a new field or whatever.
 

Hink

OH....IO
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
15,838
Points
52
Not quite glutton...at least in NC.

You have to work 30 years in the state retirement system, which in NC you can move between cities, counties, and state agencies who all pay into the same system. So to start working at 22 in City A, then after 5 years or so move to City B. Not a good fit so after a year move to City C and work there for 10 years...do this until you have 30 years of service and you can retire at 52 from public service. Then if you work for a consultant or in a new field or whatever.
It is the same in Ohio. The Ohio Public Employee Retirement System allows for retirement after 32 years in the system or age 55, which ever is later. They give you a retirement benefit based on a percentage of your five highest years of salary. Not bad really.
 

glutton

Cyburbian
Messages
473
Points
12
@Planit and @Hink : Oh neat! That's not bad then :). I like the idea of a state-wide system. My current job has this as well, with most government agencies being a part of one cohesive, state-wide system. My old job in PA didn't have this; I think the pension system was for that municipality only. Only thing is, it does limit you living in one state for multiple decades of your life. This can be hard if you want to explore new places, chase after a new opportunity somewhere else, or if you need to move for your family/spouse (especially if they are in a totally different field than you or in the military). So I still think it works better for people who are more settled in life and aren't going anywhere. But that's great that other states have at least a state-wide pension system!
 

Planit

Cyburbian
Messages
13,146
Points
54
@Planit and @Hink : Oh neat! That's not bad then :). I like the idea of a state-wide system. My current job has this as well, with most government agencies being a part of one cohesive, state-wide system. My old job in PA didn't have this; I think the pension system was for that municipality only. Only thing is, it does limit you living in one state for multiple decades of your life. This can be hard if you want to explore new places, chase after a new opportunity somewhere else, or if you need to move for your family/spouse (especially if they are in a totally different field than you or in the military). So I still think it works better for people who are more settled in life and aren't going anywhere. But that's great that other states have at least a state-wide pension system!
Again, not really. I know a colleague that worked in NC for 10 years (vested in the system @5), then worked in SC for another 10 years (again vested in 5) & is now in Ga for 2 years. They are going to stay until vested, then move back to NC and work - or at least that's the plan.

They won't get full benefits from any, but they'll have 3 checks coming in (which might total the same as fully vested in 1 state, but maybe not). Regardless, it's an easy system to work through.

Another aspect of it is that if you leave the state, you can take your money back out but you won't get theirs. So think of it as a savings plan, albeit forced savings plan which ain't so bad. Also (at least in NC) you can "buy" your years of public service from another state and apply it to the NC system.
 

Hink

OH....IO
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
15,838
Points
52
Again, not really. I know a colleague that worked in NC for 10 years (vested in the system @5), then worked in SC for another 10 years (again vested in 5) & is now in Ga for 2 years. They are going to stay until vested, then move back to NC and work - or at least that's the plan.

They won't get full benefits from any, but they'll have 3 checks coming in (which might total the same as fully vested in 1 state, but maybe not). Regardless, it's an easy system to work through.

Another aspect of it is that if you leave the state, you can take your money back out but you won't get theirs. So think of it as a savings plan, albeit forced savings plan which ain't so bad. Also (at least in NC) you can "buy" your years of public service from another state and apply it to the NC system.
In OPERS you can buy service credit from other State's as well. It does max out at 5 years, but if you work somewhere else for 5 years and then come back you can still get credit for it.

OPERS said:
Out-of-state, Federal or Ohio Municipal Retirement System Service Credit You may purchase credit for: • Service with the federal government • Service in another state which, had the service been in Ohio, would have been covered by an Ohio state retirement system.
OPERS said:
The maximum credit that may be purchased is five years or an amount equal to your total Ohio retirement system service credit, whichever is less, if that out-of-state or federal service credit is not used for another retirement benefit (except Social Security for retired pay for non-regular service). For persons retiring on a joint basis under the Traditional Pension Plan and from STRS and/ or SERS, a maximum of five years of out-of-state service may be purchased between OPERS, STRS and SERS. Certification by the appropriate federal, state or municipal authority must be presented to OPERS. Affidavits for proof of out-of-state or federal retirement system service credit cannot be accepted. A Certification of Federal, Out-of-state or Municipal Service form must be completed for certification of the service purchase.
 

glutton

Cyburbian
Messages
473
Points
12
@Hink @Planit super interesting, I had no idea that some state systems offer the chance to "purchase" prior government service from another state. I'm going to inquire about this! Thank you for the suggestion.

UPDATE: Called my state retirement system, they said transferring years from another state can't be done due to IRS rules unfortunately. :worried: But thanks for the idea!
 
Last edited:

DVD

Cyburbian
Messages
14,948
Points
51
Mine doesn't allow transfer from other states, but you can buy the years. Basically, since I worked 4 years military and 6 years in another state I could pay in to get 10 years of service. The key is that I'm paying in, not the city I work for.
 

glutton

Cyburbian
Messages
473
Points
12
Mine doesn't allow transfer from other states, but you can buy the years. Basically, since I worked 4 years military and 6 years in another state I could pay in to get 10 years of service. The key is that I'm paying in, not the city I work for.
Yeah mine offers the purchase option, but it requires you to have worked there for 5 years, which is when I vest anyway, :/
 

Faust_Motel

Cyburbian
Messages
649
Points
27
We are lucky where I am- a statewide pension system that most state and municipal workers are in- you vest at 5 years. You can get full retirement benefits at 30 years or 62.5, whichever comes first. I started at 30, so can get out a little early if I want to move on to something else.
 

Salmissra

Cyburbian
Messages
6,015
Points
32
We have a state system that has options. I do know that different cities and entities can pick among the pre-selected options, as long as they are also meeting the requirements for their entity.
There's a 20 year plan, a 25 year plan, and a 30 year plan. The trick is, whichever one you retire under is the one you have to comply with. So if you started at a 25 year city, then ended at a 20 year city, you can retire at 20 years (assuming all other requirements are met). I don't know all the details on requirements, but this works across the state.

There are a few large entities that are not part of the state's program. I worked for one of them - they have their own mandatory pension plan. So, when I went back into the state's plan, I was able to ask for my time at the Non-Member entity to be added to my time. The Non-Member entity has to sign off (basically verifying employment), but it gave me 5+ years towards retirement. I was vested in the program as soon as the paperwork was received back with signatures.

So while I do not meet anyone's retirement requirements (not old enough), I am vested in two different programs.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
18,700
Points
69
The message board at land8.com has an ongoing thread about low salaries in the landscape architecture field. There's no specific "name and shame", but there's some pessimism about the future of the LA field. From the thread:

On PayScale.com…I read that “Entry Level” Landscape Architects are being paid $45,200.00 or approx. $20.74 per hour. Well, if you consider some politicians in America are pushing for a $15 per hour minimum wage (for unskilled labor jobs)…that sure makes an entry level LA job pay look VERY LOW. I’ve seen LA jobs for Entry Level even lower…at $37,000.00. A Design-Build Co. here in the Dallas, Texas area has posted an AD for a “Landscape Architect” – salary of $40,000.00 (and this company has no other LAs). In my professional opinion, that inexperienced LA will seriously struggle working for a company that has no experienced LAs to mentor him/her…that LA will be totally lost and the Co. Owner won’t understand why he/she doesn’t know what they’re doing.

...

As I also mentioned above & in another thread…yes, there are several LA jobs listed on LAND 8’s job board…but, look WHERE those jobs are located. Most are in California, New York or other high cost of living areas…and CA and NY have State Income Taxes. IMO, an LA job in those areas would be a very challenging location to begin an LA career or even for an LA with 10 plus yrs. of experience to cope with.

...

If I were a High School Senior, and I knew this information…..there’s NO WAY I would consider studying Landscape Architecture. Besides, starting SALARIES are really quite LOW. I believe most entry level LA salaries run approx. $45k per year or less then $25 per hour. Compare that to the NEW proposed $15 per hour Federal Minimum Hourly Rate that Liberals are proposing…and for LA’s that means paying for and going to a University to study Landscape Architecture for 4 to 5 years.
 

paiste13

Cyburbian
Messages
236
Points
9
Burlington IA hiring an entry-level planner with 0-1 years experience, AICP desirable. :r: No salary listed.
 

SlaveToTheGrind

Cyburbian
Messages
1,444
Points
27
My first job was in Montana when at the time (1997) APA had Montana ranked last for entry-level planner pay. I was an assistant planner making $11.24 an hour. I am now in state-wide system that puts full retirement at 30 years of work based on the time I started in the system. New-hires within the last 10 years or so now must have 35 for full retirement or a certain age/years in the system. I will qualify for retirement in full in 8 years at age 57.
 

giff57

Corn Burning Fool
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Moderator
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5,443
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34
That doesn't seem too bad (I have no idea what it costs to live in Burlington IA, admittedly) but that's over $24 an hour and I'm assuming there are typical holidays and benefits?
Burlington is the "town next door"tm Cost of living is pretty low. Not much to do for a young person, but I like the community. The City of Burlington pays pretty well, with full benefits.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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18,700
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