Urbana City Council on Tuesday heard the first reading of two ordinances concerning labor agreements between the city and the patrol officers and sergeants who make up the Urbana Police Division.
Director of Administration Kerry Brugger said this is the first time both units at the UPD have negotiated jointly, and after six negotiation sessions, the city’s management team reached a tentative agreement with the Urbana Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) on Dec. 17, 2015, and both collective bargaining agreements were ratified by the FOP/Ohio Labor Council Inc. on Jan. 5.
If approved by council following three readings, the new three-year deal (Jan. 1, 2016, through Dec. 31, 2018) would result in patrol officers and sergeants receiving base wage increases of 1.25 percent in each year of the contract. With the 2016 wage increase, a patrol officer in his or her first year with the UPD would earn a yearly salary of $39,557.12 ($19.02 per hour), while a first-year sergeant with the division would bring home $60,620.71 a year ($29.14 per hour).
Brugger added the contracts include increasing the annual allowance for uniforms by $50 to $900 and language allowing for an additional personal day for employees who don’t use sick leave in a 12-month calendar year.
“We had good participation (during the negotiation sessions),” Brugger said. “We appreciate everyone’s effort in getting this done.”
Update on roundabout study
During its Jan. 5 meeting, council approved a purchase order in the amount of $29,000 to Burgess & Niple, Columbus, for a study to be carried out on the roundabout in Monument Square to help determine whether improvements should be made to lane configuration, parking and/or pedestrian crossings.
“They are actively working on that (study) right now,” Community Development Manager Doug Crabill said. “They’ve been looking at crash data, they did traffic counts, and they installed equipment to monitor traffic during peak hours.”
In order to discuss and fine tune the results of the study, a public meeting has been scheduled for 6 p.m. on Feb. 1 in the municipal building’s upstairs fire training room.
To fund improvements that may be needed after Burgess & Niple presents its results on the roundabout study, council heard the first reading of an ordinance that would allow Brugger to submit an application to the Ohio Department of Transportation for funding under the Small City Program.
Crabill said the city intends to meet with ODOT to discus the findings of the study, and if ODOT approves the city’s application for Small City Program funding, 95 percent of the potential roundabout improvement project would be funded with grant dollars.
“We think this is a good opportunity to basically take our concept and our plan, and move it forward for funding,” Crabill said.
Council heard the first reading of a resolution that would allow the transfer of $62,000 from the the Community Development Block Grant Housing Revolving Loan Fund, awarded to the city by the Ohio Development Services Agency, to a fund set up to cover the costs associated with the upcoming project on North Oakland Street.
The North Oakland Street Curbs and Walks Phase 1 Project, according to Crabill, will “address the deteriorating sidewalks, curbs and gutters and catch basins on Oakland Street.
“We can’t do it all at once, so we are trying to do it in phases,” he added.
If the transfer of funding is approved by council after three readings, phase 1 of the project, which would involve both sides of North Oakland Street from Miami Street to West Church Street, would result in the replacement of 1,300 lineal feet of combination curb and gutter, 4,000 square feet of 4-inch sidewalks, 137 square yards of 6-inch concrete pavement for driveways/drive approaches and six catch basins.
To cover the costs of the estimated $116,000 project, Crabill said, the city would use the $62,000 from the CDBG Housing Revolving Loan Fund, $40,200 the city acquired through a Champaign County CDBG, and a local match of $13,800.
Crabill added there is a chance the city’s share could be lower as a more recent estimate has the project costing roughly $9,000 less than originally estimated.
Brugger addressed a misconception making its way around the community that the city is billing residents $100 for not shoveling their sidewalks. Brugger acknowledged council did approve changes to the city’s codified ordinances pertaining to snow removal and snow emergencies, but some of the changes have been “sensationalized” by media outside the city.
“We aren’t billing people. This is a matter of a citation as opposed to a bill,” he said. “This is strictly a legislative action that is on the books that we can enforce if needed.”
Brugger added the ordinance was amended based on ongoing concerns city officials receive about people plowing snow into city streets and residents shoveling snow from their property onto to the sidewalk or onto a neighboring property.
Director of Law Breanne Parcels said residents will only be cited if they fail to remedy any documented public hazards within a 24-hour period after receiving notice.
If the hazard is not abated, the person found to be in violation of the ordinance will be cited for a minor misdemeanor, which carries a fine up to $150. If the same individual violates the ordinance within a three-year period, the offense jumps to a fourth-degree misdemeanor.
“Generally, I do not anticipate this is going to cause problems for most people,” Parcels said.
In other business:
•Council agreed to renew its contract with Susan Tehan, Oak Dale Cemetery coordinator, for the current year at a salary of $13,710.
Brugger noted Tehan’s salary has remained the same since 2014, and her contract calls for her to receive a 12 percent commission on sales at the cemetery.
Unofficially, Brugger said, the cemetery had sales of roughly $43,000 in 2015, and Tehan was paid approximately $18,800 for her services.
“It’s a pretty good return on our investment,” he said.
•Airport Manager Lou Driever’s contract with the city was approved for 2016 at a salary of $42,000, funded through the Airport Fund, not the General Fund.
“We’ve had a significant amount of activity at the airport,” Brugger said. “There are a lot of activities planned for this year.”
•Council agreed to amend the existing contract with DLZ Ohio Inc. by an additional $9,000 for appraisal costs associated with right-of-way acquisition as it relates to the U.S. Route 36 East Improvement Project.
Crabill said the city had planned to use the cheaper of the two appraisal templates allowed by the state, but the legislation that allowed the cheaper template to be used has expired.
Crabill added there is a chance the legislation could be renewed, but until then the city has to go with the lengthier and more costly appraisal template.
•Following a suspension of the three-readings rule, council passed on first reading a resolution authorizing Brugger to submit an application to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for a fiscal year 2015 Assistance to Firefighters Grant.
Fire Capt. Jerry Kirk said if the grant is awarded to the Urbana Fire Division, it would be used to purchase a hose washer, hose dryer and hose roller.
•Council suspended the three-readings rule and passed on first reading a resolution authorizing Brugger to enter into the 2016-2018 Housing Revolving Loan Fund administration agreement with the Ohio Development Services Agency.
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-652-1331 (ext. 1774) or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.