TWINSBURG – All non-bargaining employees of the city will receive 2.5 percent pay hikes starting Jan. 1, 2020, after City Council OK’d a cost of living increase Nov. 26.
Councilman Bill Furey explained the percentage increase is the same as what unionized workers will receive. Mayor Ted Yates said the salary ordinance for 2020 will be before Council in December, and the actual percentage of increase may fluctuate for some workers.
According to the cost of living ordinance, "should any employee affected by this ordinance currently fall within 2.5 percent of the top range of the position, as set forth in the salary ordinance, then such employee shall only receive the percentage increase to place him/her at the top of the designated range."
Council President Brian Steele, who wrapped up his four-year tenure at the meeting, voted against the increases.
He agreed most employees deserve raises, but cited a couple of incidences where he believes a department head mishandled certain situations and shouldn’t be granted a raise. "It’s a matter of accountability," he said.
In other personnel matters, Council ratified a three-year agreement with Teamsters Local 436, which is the bargaining unit for the city’s wastewater treatment plant workers. The agreement runs through Dec. 31, 2022.
Since it was Steele’s last meeting as a Council rep, he reflected on his many years working for the city. He was a police officer for 31 years, and served on Council for the last four years. His seat will be taken over by Daisy Walker. Steele was defeated by Yates in the November mayoral election.
"Although we didn’t always agree with each other, I think Council accomplished some good things during my tenure," he said. "Whether a decision is popular or not, you have to try to do the right thing and stick to your decision."
Yates said Council and city officials have had some disagreements, but called the differences of opinion "healthy." He wished Steele well in his future endeavors.
The 2020 appropriations were introduced and will move on to second reading at Council’s Dec. 10 meeting. "The finance committee is meeting with department heads, and we likely will act on the appropriations by the end of the year," said Furey.
After reporting that the general fund balance stood at $10.7 million and all unencumbered funds were at $20.9 million at the end of October, Furey said "our work is paying off." He noted the general fund balance is up $2.4 million and all funds are up $600,000 from the start of 2019.
The 2020 general fund appropriations are set at $29.5 million, which is about $352,000 less than 2019. Total appropriations are listed at $51.4 million, about $773,000 less than this year.
Finance Director Sarah Buccigross reported income tax revenue for November was $1.6 million, up 2.7 percent from the same month last year. For the first 11 months of the year, income tax revenue stood at $21.8, up from $21.12 million last year.
Yates reported charging stations for all-electric and hybrid cars have been installed at City Hall, the Township Square, the outdoor pool and Gleneagles Golf Course. Money came from this year’s Ohio Public Energy Council energized grant program.
The mayor said delays in completing the Route 91/Ethan’s-Meadowood roundabout and other Route 91 improvements have been frustrating, but noted the city has little control over projects on state routes.
He said some landscaping remains to be done, and the city is waiting on Ohio Edison to get additional lighting hooked up at the roundabout. "It is functioning well; traffic is moving well," he said about the roundabout.
He added city officials are starting work on updating the comprehensive plan, which is done every five years. Some residents will be appointed to a committee to review and update the plan.
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