|Council hesitant to end furloughs just yet|
|Tuesday, May 20, 2014 8:00 PM|
BY NANCY SPENCER
dhi MEDIA Editor
DELPHOS — Still basking in the glow of a successful .25-percent income tax increase and the news of a Lakeview Farms expansion project, Delphos Mayor Michael Gallmeier asked council for guidance Monday evening on cuts that were made last year, such as a 3-hour furlough for all non-union hourly employees and an equal pay reduction for department heads and other salaried workers.
“I am asking you guys for guidance on what you want to see happen with the furloughs and getting our employees back to work full time,” Gallmeier said.
Councilman-At-Large and Finance Committee head Josh Gillespie immediately said he would not be in favor of any changes to the cuts and/or reductions that have already been made.
“If the money isn’t there, it isn’t there,” Gillespie said. “I couldn’t support it.”
Councilman-At-Large Joe Martz agreed.
“I couldn’t support it right now,” said Martz. “Maybe down the road.”
Third Ward Councilman Del Kemper was on the opposite side of the fence.
“I don’t really want to see anything that doesn’t bring our workers back full time,” Kemper said. “Maybe we need to look at something else like insurance that will affect all employees and not just half. We are falling behind. Things aren’t getting done. We owe it to our employees and our citizens to get these people back to work full time.”
Gallmeier said the city will not begin collection of the income tax increase until July 1 and won’t see full collection until 2015. Also, production at Lakeview Farms is not expected to increase to full capacity until the beginning of 2015.
City Auditor Thomas Jettinghoff has projected a 10-percent increase in sewer rates and a 5-percent increase in water rates to keep those budgets from going into the red by 2015. The increases in the water and wastewater rates are estimated to generate $300,000 and the income tax increase is expected to generate approximately $400,000 for Parks and Rec, freeing up money for other budgets.
Council asked Jettinghoff to provide information on rate increases at the next meeting, including various scenarios for what hikes were needed to lift the furlough and pay reductions.
Council heard on first reading two pieces of legislation related to the recent upswing in the city’s finances. An ordinance to implement the approved .25-percent income tax increase and one permitting Gallmeier and Safety Service Director Shane Coleman to enter into a three-year agreement with Lakeview Farms for water and sewer rates.
Council also heard on first reading legislation to add sick leave hours to current city employees’ accumulated sick leave balances.
During police contract negotiations, it was discovered the city’s policy and procedure manual was not in compliance with the Ohio Revised Code, leaving the city to correct six year’s worth of sick leave hours to make up the difference between the 3.08 hours the city had been giving and the 4.6 hours required by law for each completed 80 hours in active pay status. The city had not been in compliance from 2008 through November 2013.
Jettinghoff said the accrued hours totaled approximately $40,000 if cashed out at the 50-percent limit upon retirement.
Hours credited ranged from 179-271 per employee.
Transfers of $1,420,000 were approved on first reading with a suspension of the rules. Jettinghoff said the bulk of the transfers was for loan payments due from the Water, Sewer and Income Tax funds. The remaining $20,000 is to shore up the Maintenance Fund from extreme overtime experienced during a particularly harsh winter.
Wastewater Plant Superintendent Todd Teman presented council with an update on his plant.
“We have been experiencing issues with compromised plates and we are currently looking at other types of membrane technology,” Teman said. “We have several viable options, including replacing all the membranes, changing the type of membranes we use and installing alternate treatment for storm sewer water so it doesn’t go through the entire membrane system. Big rain events are when we run into trouble.”
Teman and an engineer from Poggemyer Design met with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday to present the options for approval.
“We are looking for long-term feasibility and the most cost-effective solution,” Teman said. “I think we need to take our time and do what we need to do and get it right.”
Several residents addressed council with concerns and/or information.
Buzz and Ellen Ditto of The Carpenter’s Ministry shared their upcoming Laborers R On Us Oct. 3 and 4.
“We are asking for volunteers to help do minor home repairs and chores that are needed and donations of materials and funds,” Ellen said. “We also need people to share their needs with us.”
Projects can include window/door repairs, painting, minor roof repairs, gutter cleaning, yard cleanup, inside cleaning, listening/visiting, reading, etc.
Those who would like to donate, volunteer or need help should visit Trinity United Methodist Church at 211 E. Third St., Delphos; call the church at 419-692-0651; or call the Dittos at 419-233-3524.
The Dittos hope the activity will eventually grow to cover a week of service to the community and those in need.
“We are also inviting council to help in any way they can; to come out and work in the community,” Ellen said.
Resident Joe Painter shared his suggestion of putting a traffic signal at the corner of South Franklin and East Pierce streets.
“When vehicles are parked at the church, it’s difficult to see when traveling west on First Street,” Painter said. “When Pierce Street is blocked off for the kids during school, the traffic has to go down to Franklin Street. It’s hard to see and I’d hate for to have to have an accident where someone is hurt before we do something.”
Gallmeier said he would contact Police Chief Kyle Fittro and get a report on how many accidents have occurred at that intersection.
Council then entered executive session to discuss charges against an employee.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 8:12 PM|