|Council sees $400,000 doesn't go far|
|Monday, June 02, 2014 8:19 PM|
BY NANCY SPENCER
dhi MEDIA Editor
DELPHOS — Try as they might, Delphos City Council could not find enough money in the upcoming forecasted budgets to bring back workers to a 40-hour work week and lift a pay reduction for department heads and administration.
Auditor Tom Jetthinghoff presented the Water and Sewer funds outlook through 2020 during Monday’s regular council meeting. Jettinghoff spread out the $400,000 in the General Fund freed up by the passage of the .25-percent income tax increase between the two accounts with the bulk of the money going into the Sewer Fund.
“I’m looking at these numbers and the entire $400,000 is going into these accounts and others are still going to suffer. It’s not spread out to any other departments. Three years from now, we still have people on a 37-hour work week,” Councilman Del Kemper said with concern. “You know where I’m going with this. We need to devise a plan with everyone included to get everyone back to work. We need everyone to be involved, not half of the employees carrying all the burden.”
Councilman and Finance Committee Chair Josh Gillespie said he would like to sit down with Kemper and see where, if at all, the money can be found to make the city whole.
“I don’t disagree that we need to get everyone back on full time but it has to be in the budget,” Gillespie said. “We are in charge of the budget. We are in charge of how money is spent. It’s up to us to find a solution to this and we need to stop talking about it and do what we are here to do.”
The discussion came during the introduction of a pair of ordinances to increase the water rates by 5 percent and sewer rates by 10 percent to slow deficit spending in both funds.
The water rate increase will generate $89,000 per year and the sewer rate increase $210,000 a year. The new rates will be reflected on residents’ August billing.
Council also heard on first reading an ordinance authorizing the safety service director to enter into a contract with the successful bidder for the East Second Street Paving Project. The city was awarded an 80/20 Ohio Public Works Commission Grant for the $189,000 project with the city’s share at $37,751, which will come from the Motor Vehicle Permissive Tax Fund. Jettinghoff said that fund stands at approximately $50,000.
Council heard on second reading two pieces of legislation related to the city’s finances. One was an ordinance to implement the approved .25-percent income tax increase and the other to permit 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 second 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.
A fourth ordinance allowing the administration to dispose of city assets was also heard on second reading. The city has several items including a 1996 Dodge Ram, a 2000 Dodge Intrepid, a 3-inch Fairbanks moore pump, an Emerson 30-HP motor, a Galion 8-ton dump bed, a little dump, two sewer dragging machines, a 3-phase air compressor and miscellaneous items it no longer has a use for.
The revenue from the sale of the items will be put into the fund where the original purchase was made.
Coleman reported the Delphos Municipal Swimming Pool opened this past weekend with 500 swimmers enjoying the two-day opening.
He added that season personnel will start next week and a Van Wert County and summer help will also be provided through the Summer Youth Employment Program, an initiative of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and helps connect young adults ages 14-23 with local businesses, schools and municipal facilities that require seasonal help in Mercer, Auglaize, Van Wert and Hardin counties. The employee comes at no cost to businesses. Workers are paid through $419,623 in grant monies allocated as follows: Mercer, $88,763; Auglaize, $93,649; Van Wert, $88,630; and Hardin, $148,581.
“This will be a great help to us,” Coleman said. “They’ll help us get caught up with meter reading and some other jobs that need done in the parks, etc.”
Coleman also reported Police Chief Kyle Fittro is looking into accidents that have occurred at the intersection of East First and South Franklin streets and an officer has been on-site watching traffic patterns, etc.
Resident Joe Painter has shared his suggestion of putting a traffic signal at the corner at the last council meeting.
“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 to have an accident where someone is hurt before we do something.”
Coleman gave updates on several issues he has been working on, including a collapse of brickwork on a downtown building.
“I have been in touch with the owner and he assured me the matter will be taken care of,” Coleman said. “He also informed me there are several downtown businesses for sale and any interested party can contact me and I will pass along the information.”
He said he’s also been working on code violations with residents reporting unkempt yards, etc.
“I just want to remind residents that if we have to come and mow a property it is $200 for the first hour and $100 for every hour after that with a $50 administration fee,” he said.
Coleman added that he had spoken with Cintas about the lot where the Van Dyne Crotty building stood and as of two weeks ago, Cintas still planned to finish off the site with grass seeding.
Before the close of the meeting, Councilman Mark Clement suggested the city hold a “voter appreciation” day at the city pool to thank voters for passing the .25-percent income tax increase. Councilmen were amenable to the suggestion and agreed to discuss it further at the next council meeting at 7 p.m. June 16.
Jettinghoff has also called for a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. June 16 for the 2015 Budget.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, June 03, 2014 8:04 PM|