Village continues pay raise discussion


By Nick Walton - nwalton@civitasmedia.com



ST. PARIS – A discussion about proposed pay raises for village employees continued during Monday’s regular village council meeting.

During the Feb. 6 meeting, resolutions that would have authorized pay raises for four village employees were rejected by council. The resolutions proposed to give pay raises for office assistant Suzanne Oberly, streets, parks and land superintendent Diana Wallen, streets, parks and land employee James Copes and water and sewer department employee Ben Shuman.

As each of the four resolutions were put to a vote during that meeting, they were rejected 4-2 with council members Jana Crawford and Lynn Miller voting for the pay raises and council members Niven Jester, Tyler Adkins, Terry Ervin II and Dave Palmer voting against the raises.

On Monday, council listened to a presentation from village resident Tim Bierbaugh comparing the salaries of the four village employees with those of employees in similar positions from other nearby villages.

“Atta-boys and pats on the back might work for some but when you’ve got a family at home and mouths to feed and your own taxes to pay and your own water bills to pay it’s nice to have a paycheck that’s commensurate with the amount of work that you’re doing,” Bierbaugh said. “With that being said, I don’t believe that some of our employees are receiving a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s amount of work that they’re doing.”

Bierbaugh said his research involved looking at the villages of DeGraff, Jackson Center, Mechanicsburg, North Lewisburg and West Liberty.

Comparing the salaries of only four similar positions, Bierbaugh said DeGraff pays employees $10,991.20 more annually than St. Paris, Jackson Center pays $40,643.20 more than St. Paris, Mechanicsburg pays $9,900.80 more than St. Paris, North Lewisburg pays $18,200 more than St. Paris, and West Liberty pays $19,739.20 more than St. Paris.

Bierbaugh added even with the proposed raises, which he said would amount to $7,363.20, the other municipalities would be paying the same four employees more than St. Paris is paying their four employees.

Following Bierbaugh’s presentation, Ervin said he made attempts to contact the five municipalities and shared the information he received as of Monday. Ervin added he was not ready to vote on potential pay raises because he did not have all the information he wanted and moved to table any action.

Council voted 4-2 to table taking any action on pay raises. Crawford and Miller voted against tabling the action.

Following the vote, Mayor Joe Reneer was asked how much the proposed raises were for. Reneer said for Oberly the raise would be from $9 to $10 an hour, for Wallen it would be a $36 per week increase, for Copes a $30 per week increase, and for Shuman a $33 per week increase.

Council approves amendments to water ordinance

Council unanimously approved amendments to an existing ordinance for water services in the village. The amendments focused on deposit requirements, account responsibility, billing schedule, the delinquency policy and miscellaneous fees required by the water and sewer department.

Within the original ordinance, the deposits section states at the time of application for water and service a deposit may be required of applicants who have not previously received service from the village or who have an unsatisfactory record of payment of water or sewer bills and also states the deposit will be returned, without interest, upon request by the applicant at the village office, 135 W. Main St., after the applicant has established a record of prompt payment of water or sewer bills for a period of one year.

The amended ordinance states at the time of application for water and or sewer service a deposit shall be required applicants who have not previously received service from the village or who have an unsatisfactory record of payment of water or sewer bills. A copy of a previous St. Paris water bill will be required for a deposit to be waived.

The amendment also states the deposit shall be applied to the customer’s bill at the conclusion of six months from the initial commencement of service provided that service is still current. If that service is no longer current, the person making the deposit may in writing request a refund if their account is paid in full. If a forwarding address is not made available to send the refund, then the deposit will become the property of the village after a one year period.

Under account responsibility, the amendment states all accounts are listed in the name of the property owner. Bills may be rendered to a tenant if requested by the property owner in writing, except in the case of multi-family dwellings which must be billed to the property owner unless a separate service and meter is provided for each dwelling unit.

Regarding the billing schedule, the amended ordinance states bills may be paid by mailing to Village of St. Paris, 135 W. Main St., PO Box, St. Paris, Ohio 43072. Residents may also pay by phone with a credit card by calling 937-663-4329 or online at www.stparisohio.org. Residents also have the option to pay their bill at the First Central National Bank in St. Paris and there is a drop box located at the municipal building, 135 W. Main St.

The amended ordinances also addresses the delinquency policy. It states bills not paid by the 28th of each month are considered delinquent. Delinquent notices are mailed the day after the current bill is due and if the delinquent amount is not paid within seven days a $25 late fee will be assessed to each unpaid account no matter what the balance.

Delinquent accounts will be reviewed on a regular basis and past due bills may be certified to the Champaign County Auditor as a tax lien for collection and remitted to the village. There will be a 10 percent administrative fee charged for each account turned into the auditor.

New police officers sworn in

Two new members of the St. Paris Police Department were sworn in before council during Monday’s meeting.

Officers Shane Hill and Dustin Freeman are joining the department as part-time officers. Chief Kristopher Cosme said the officers have completed 96 hours of field training officer training.

Speaking on the training, Cosme said the department has been implementing a program Jester developed a few years ago.

“What it does is it allows our officers to go through a phase program,” Cosme said. “Each phase will enhance their abilities. It starts off with the basics teaching them how to use forms where the forms are located basic department functions and then we proceed to putting them towards the road introducing them to different environments, call environments. We teach them how to handle different situations whether it be a traffic stop, a hostile situation, a non-emergency situation, vehicle operations leading up to the possibility of use of force.”

Our Town St. Paris

Reneer read a letter from Our Town St. Paris referencing a number of events scheduled for 2017.

The Farmer’s Market will begin May 5 and run until Oct. 13 between 2:30 and 6 p.m. at the municipal building.

Flower Barrels will be planted on May 26 at 10 a.m.

Garage Sale Day will be held on June 17 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the annual Our Town Meeting will be held on June 26.

Christmas in the the village will be held Dec. 2.

Our Town’s next meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on March 27.

In other action:

•The St. Paris Board of Zoning Appeals will hold a public meeting at 7 p.m. on March 15 in the municipal building to consider a conditional use for a home occupation Retail Food Service owned by Nanette Hagan at 201 N. Springfield St.

•The Covenant Lutheran Church will hold a meeting on the community garden at 7 p.m. on March 16.

•The Old Bag Sale will be held at the Evans-Purk Fellowship Center, 115 S. Church St. The bags will be available to view at 12:30 p.m. and the auction begins at 1:30 p.m. All proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society.

By Nick Walton

nwalton@civitasmedia.com

Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.

Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.