The Urbana City Council on Tuesday unanimously passed eight ordinances establishing the salary and benefits for the fire chief, assistant fire chief, central staff employees, police chief, police lieutenant, director of administration, director of finance and director of law following a third reading. City administrator Kerry Brugger explained that after revising the central staff ordinance, he similarly revised these ordinances. The ordinances are effective Jan. 1, 2019, through Dec. 31, 2021.
“2013 is the last time any of these salary ordinances were addressed, and the only thing we did at that time was take away the end date,” Brugger said. “The last change before that was probably 2008 or 2011 depending on where the file changes were put. What we’ve tried to do is align all of these salary ordinances… the timeline to match up with the same timeline for our collective bargaining agreements. It seemed a little awkward, sometimes, trying to piecemeal all the different salaries and ordinances all at different times of the year, so our intent here was to streamline all of the salary ordinances and we went through each of these four: fire chief, assistant fire chief, police chief and police lieutenant, and found that the bulk of their ordinances were mirrors of the central staff ordinances. As some of those positions changed over time, some of the language got shifted just slightly, which made tracking all the verbiage a little bit difficult. What we’ve done this time is as we cleaned up the central staff ordinance, we took out all the sections of the individual ordinances that mirrored the central staff ordinance, so that each of the individual ordinances… they will follow the central staff ordinance except for any sections that specifically identify to their particular position.”
Central staff employees have a pay range in accordance with seven established pay grades: pay grade 1, $8.50 per hour to $19 per hour; pay grade 2, $24,516 annually to $40,393; pay grade 3, $26,823 to $45,580; pay grade 4, $32,730 to $50,178; pay grade 5, $39,697 to $61,541; pay grade 6, $44,151 to $70,991; and pay grade 7, $59,964 to $91,959. Additionally, all employees are to receive a base wage increase of 2.25 percent, 2.25 percent and 2.5 percent in each of the respective years, and are eligible for periodic merit increases within the established salary range.
Effective Jan. 1, 2019, through Dec. 31, 2021, the fire chief will be paid in accordance with an annual pay range of $83,446 to $95,366; the assistant fire chief with an annual pay range of $79,472 to $90,826; the police chief with an annual pay range of $83,446 to $95,366; the police lieutenant with an annual pay range of $79,472 to $90,826; the director of administration with an annual pay range of $89,475 to $111,844; the director of finance with an annual pay range of $75,347 to $94,184; and the director of law with an annual pay range of $72,425 to $108,554.
Brugger said he will review all job descriptions later in the year.
Council heard the first reading of an ordinance sponsored by council person Ray Piper that includes lawn clippings in the city’s definition of “litter,” which will require three readings.
“I’ve been getting a lot of complaints about people blowing their grass out in the street, and some low speed riders are crashing – I’ve crashed mine because of grass. It just looks nasty out there on the streets and I think it’s time people start taking care of it. If you blow your grass out there, you can blow it back in your yard to get it off the street.”
During public comments, Urbana resident Russ Bartley approached council to ask Piper why he was proposing this ordinance, because he said it looked like he couldn’t cut his grass without being in violation of the city’s litter ordinance.
“I think the interpretation is one of context,” said City Law Director Mark Feinstein. “Section 521.08 is a section that specifically addresses litter, so it talks about not being able to leave things on a public thoroughfare, on sidewalks, it doesn’t say anything about in your own yard. So this was added to that particular section because councilman Piper wanted a dual purpose. By defining it as litter you not only give [Urbana’s Zoning & Compliance Division] the ability to deal with it if it’s a nuisance, but there’s also criminal penalties for littering contained in 521.08.”
Council person Dwight Paul said this ordinance might relieve problems caused by grass clipping plugging up the storm sewer, but he and several other council members discussed the difficulty of enforcing such an ordinance.
“The reason for this is because I’ve gotten a lot of complaints on this,” Piper said. “I’m just doing my job as a councilman to let people know that I am working for them, and straighten the ordinance out.”
Following the first reading of this ordinance, Paul said he had noticed too many sticks in the street that the city hadn’t cleaned up. Brugger responded that the compost facility would be open beginning March 15 and that citizens were encouraged to bring sticks and other compost to the facility to be disposed.
Also at this meeting:
– Council unanimously passed a resolution approving the 15-year, 100 percent real estate tax abatement for three acres planned for a new hotel. Champaign Economic Partnership director Marcia Bailey informed council that a January resolution made the abatement conditional on the land being acquired by Urbana Hotel, LLC, and that the property has now transferred. Council member Pat Thackery made a motion to pass the resolution, which was seconded by council member Cledis Scott.
– Mayor Bill Bean started the meeting by requesting the council observe a moment of silence for Urbana firefighter John Dale, who passed away on Monday.
Christopher Selmek can be reached at 937-508-2304