MECHANICSBURG – Police Chief John Alexander’s desire to properly compensate his roster at the Mechanicsburg Police Department was unanimously supported by Village Council on Monday via a motion granting pay raises for everyone except himself.
Under the agreement, the department’s eight officers will either receive a 50 cent or $1 pay increase per hour depending on whether they are due for a probationary raise or a raise based on years of service. The current pay range for part-time officers in the department is $9 to $12 per hour.
“Council’s support means the world,” Alexander said. “We have a great council, mayor, village administrator and fiscal officer. They always listen to our needs and do the best they can with what they have. We greatly appreciate them and our working relationship.”
In addition to the raises for the patrolmen, Capt. Scott Bodey was given a $1.50 raise, while Sgt. Chad Taylor was rewarded with a $3 raise. The current pay rage for a captain is $14 to $18 per hour, while a sergeant can make between $12 and $16 per hour.
“(The department) hasn’t had raises for I don’t know how long,” council member Lori Tibbals said.
Alexander said he approached council with his request for pay raises for several reasons.
“One, my officers work very hard and are deserving,” he said. “Two, we are at a very low rate compared to other agencies for the same positions. Third, it’s been awhile for some officers.”
Water main project tweaked
The upcoming Main and High 12-inch Waterline Improvements Project will be constructed in a different manner than previously outlined due to concerns addressed during a recent Street Committee meeting.
Plans for the estimated $800,000-plus project, which will replace 6- and 8-inch water mains along West Main Street and High Street with 12-inch mains, originally called for the lines to be installed under the sidewalk instead of under the roadway in an attempt to keep costs down.
“We had some concerns because there are probably three to four houses on West Main that sit below grade as far as where the sidewalk is,” Village Administrator April Huggins-Davis said. “We were worried about if we have a water main break or if something happens up there, it might flood basements or whatever.”
To prevent this from becoming an issue, council passed a motion agreeing to pay for an $8,000 service order to Stantec Consulting Services Inc., the engineering firm handling the project, to change the location of the water mains from below the sidewalk to below the roadway.
Storm sewer plans
With the sewer plant continuing to be inundated with increased volumes of water during heavy rain events, council agreed to pay Stantec $12,500 to map and document the village’s storm sewer system.
“We have no records of storm sewers being put in,” Huggins-Davis said. “We don’t know where they all are.”
She added the village has conducted smoke and die testing in lines to try to determine what’s causing the increased water volume at the sewer plant, but the smoking gun has yet to be found. The belief is there could be cross connections in which storm sewer lines are hooked into the sanitary sewer lines.
“(A storm sewer map) is something we’ve never had here, and it would help us in the future,” Huggins-Davis said. “I feel like this would at least put us in a good place where we would know where most of (the lines) are.”
In other business:
•Following a third and final reading, council passed the “demolition by neglect” ordinance. The measure creates the Vacant Building Maintenance Enforcement Program (Section 592), a supplement of the Mechanicsburg Village Zoning Ordinance.
The program aims to provide an incentive for owners of vacant structures (commercial and residential) throughout the village to get their properties into productive use before they fall into a state of disrepair.
•Huggins-Davis informed council she’s received one estimate to date in regards to the costs associated with having an engineering firm take a close look at the condition of village streets.
She stated the Pogglemeyer Design Group estimated it would cost $3,350 to examine all the streets and an additional $1,650 if the village wants to include alleys in the project.
“It will be to evaluate and prioritize which streets we need to do what to and kind of give us a comprehensive plan,” Huggins-Davis said. “Hopefully, it will help us find some funding somewhere.”
No final decision concerning the proposed inspection of village roadways was made as officials are waiting to hear back from another engineering firm.
•Zoning Inspector Dusty Hurst and Mayor Greg Kimball reminded residents that on March 1 the village will start enforcing the zoning ordinance that prohibits disabled or unregistered vehicles from being parked outside more than seven days. If disabled or unregistered, it must be parked in an enclosed structure.
“The fine right now is established at $100 a day per incident,” Kimball said.
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-508-2304 or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.