Village council approves pay raises, 2020 budget
LISBON — Village council has approved the 2020 budget that includes additional funding for promised police department pay raises tied to the recently passed municipal income tax increase.
Voters in the November election approved raising the income tax from 1.5 percent to 2 percent starting Jan. 1 with the promise 75 percent would be earmarked for the police department and pay raises. Chief Mike Abraham has been seeking significant pay raises for his employees to stop or slow the loss of officers and dispatchers to departments that offer better pay.
The budget calls for the police department to receive $910,200 in funding this year, $146,696 more than it spent in 2019, with $100,000 of that going for the first round of pay raises.
The pay raises are spelled out in the 2020 employee wage ordinance, which was passed on first reading at this week’s council meeting. Council member Ryan Berg said some adjustments to the wage ordinance will be made as they go forward with the other two readings.
Mayor Peter Wilson noted there was a slight discrepancy in the police pay as set out in the ordinance and what was on the work sheet they were given. Council President Dawn Thomas indicated those were the issues alluded to by Berg.
The 2020 budget and wage ordinance also includes 3 percent pay raise for all other village employees.
In other business, Wilson reported the engineering firm retained by the village for the Willow Grove Park bridge project is going to seek three different grants available through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to fund the project. He said the firm has yet to decide how much it can seek and if the grants can be packaged together.
Board of Public Utilities Chairman Bill Hoover told council work is expected to begin Feb. 17 on the repair of the major sewer line break near the intersection of North Market Street and Saltwell Road. The solution is to install a new sewer line and run it 285 feet south to a new manhole that will be installed near the Family Recover Center.
The work, expected to take 7-10 days, is being done by Pusateri Excavating and paid for with a $92,659 emergency grant received from the Ohio Public Works Commission.
Council approved Boy Scout Robert Mountz’s Eagle Scout project — to build a sandbox near Cedar Street park. The sandbox will be placed near Playtown so the activity of children playing there will reduce the number of neighborhood cats that might use it as a litter box and it will also be in full view of a security camera.
Council agreed to refinance the remaining $280,000 owed on the loan used to fund the construction of new village hall in the 2000s. Wilson said this will allow them to take advantage of lower interest rates, saving them $20,000 between now and when the loan is paid off in May 2023.
Wilson reported the recently completed storm sewer improvements to the Garfield Street area appears to already be paying dividends. He checked with residents following the recent heavy rain and there were no complaints.
Berg also reminded the public of a meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Feb. 19 to explain to anyone who is interested the benefits of the new Community Reinvestment Area program, which provides property tax breaks of up to 100 percent on residential and commercial improvements and new construction. Berg is hosting the seminar at village hall with county Development Department Director Tad Herold.