MECHANICSBURG – Village Council on Monday passed a new pay rates ordinance for village employees and approved an ordinance relating to rates, charges and fees for the use and service of village-provided utilities.
Village Administrator April Huggins-Davis said the majority of changes made to the pay rates ordinance involves increasing the salary and hourly pay ranges for various village positions. For instance, the pay range for the water operator and wastewater operator is increasing from between $17 and $19 per hour to between $17 and $20 per hour, while the salary range for the village administrator is increasing from between $30,000 and $50,000 per year to between $30,000 and $60,000 a year.
The only current village employees receiving an increase in pay are fire and EMS captains, lieutenants and volunteers.
In regards to fire and EMS officers, the yearly stipend for a captain will increase from $300 to $350, while the yearly stipend for a lieutenant will jump from $100 to $200.
As for fire and EMS volunteers, the ordinance increases the amount they are paid per run from $10 to $11.
Utility surcharges to drop
At some point this spring or early summer, village utility customers will see a $5 decrease in overall surcharges on their utility bills after council signed off on an ordinance relating to water and sewer services.
At the present time, utility customers pay a $15 sewer surcharge, which was used to pay for upgrades to the village’s sewer plant. With the upgrades costing less than expected, the ordinance drops the sewer surcharge to $5 per month.
To help fund the upcoming water main replacement projects, however, the ordinance establishes a new $5 water surcharge per month, meaning the total surcharges paid per month per utility customer will now be $10 instead of $15.
The $5 sewer and $5 water surcharges will remain in effect until Dec. 31, 2032, unless council elects to lower or waive the surcharges before then.
Vote on police protection contract delayed
Due to the recent passing of longtime council member Bill Farley and the absence of council member Charles Foss, council was unable to place on the floor a resolution authorizing the Mechanicsburg Police Department (MPD) to provide law enforcement protection to the village of North Lewisburg, which has gone without law enforcement services since the beginning of the year after the village and Champaign County Sheriff’s Office were unable to come to an agreement.
The plan, Huggins-Davis said, was to seek passage of the resolution on an emergency basis during Monday’s meeting so it could go into effect immediately if approved, but in order to suspend the three-readings rule, three-fourths of council (five members) must approve the suspension. Only four members attended Monday’s meeting.
The agreement between the two villages would be a three-year deal in which the MPD would assign uniformed patrol officers to North Lewisburg for 80 hours per week at a cost of $25.10 per hour.
In return for the manpower, the village of North Lewisburg would provide police vehicles (to remain in North Lewisburg), office space, supplies and administrative support when needed.
A fact sheet provided by Mechanicsburg officials notes the police chief will be administratively responsible for the terms of the proposed contract, and if approved by Mechanicsburg Village Council, the contract would have no effect on the level of police services provided to Mechanicsburg residents. The fact sheet also states Mechanicsburg residents will not be financially subsidizing police protection for the village of North Lewisburg.
Mechanicsburg Police Chief John Alexander said he and some of his officers met with North Lewisbug officials on Monday.
“It went really well,” Alexander said. “They are very supportive.”
If approved, Alexander said after speaking with Northeast Champaign County Fire District Chief Mike Penhorwood, he is confident his department will mesh well with the NECCFD.
“We are going to work with them like we do with Fire Chief (Bob) Keene here,” Alexander said.
Council expects to vote on the resolution at its next regular meeting on April 3.
In other business:
•Huggins-Davis informed council the bid opening for the upcoming Main and High 12-inch Waterline Improvements Project will take place on April 12.
The project, estimated to cost $800,000, will replace 6- and 8-inch water mains along West Main Street and High Street with 12-inch mains.
While there has been back and forth discussions involving whether or not to install the water mains under the sidewalk or roadway, Huggins-Davis said the village has chosen the most cost effective way – tearing up and replacing the sidewalk.
It’s estimated by installing the water mains under the sidewalk versus the roadway, the village will save $380,000 on the project.
•Residents were reminded that Dumpsters will be made available to village residents only during the annual spring cleanup event 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 29.
During the event, residents can dispose of solid waste by hauling it to Dumpsters at the Street Department building on Mill Street. No garbage, hazardous waste, tires, or building material will be accepted.
•Council was informed the new pump for the sewer lift station on Railroad Street had arrived and would be installed later in the week, weather permitting.
Council passed a motion on March 6 approving the purchase of the pump ($8,791 from Excel Fluid Group, Cleveland) after one of the two pumps at the lift station was destroyed by a piece of wood.
•The village will be applying for grant funding from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to help cover the cost of spraying for mosquitoes this year.
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-508-2304 or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.