Macedonia ratifies fire union pact, OKs new sign code

Ken Lahmers, Correspondent
MyTownNEO
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MACEDONIA – At its first meeting of 2021 on Jan. 14, City Council ratified a three-year bargaining agreement with the International Association of Firefighters Local 3947 and approved a revised sign ordinance.

The firefighters contract covers the years 2020, 2021 and 2022, and provides for 2 percent salary hikes each year. One new section states fire personnel may not work more than 48 consecutive hours unless there is an ongoing emergency scene or with the fire chief’s approval.

Another new section states fire personnel who are mandated to work overtime on a designated holiday shall be compensated at two times the normal pay rate, and any mandated overtime work on a non-holiday shall receive 1.5 times the normal rate.

Effective Jan. 1, 2021, personnel who have obtained gold or platinum status in the wellness program the preceding year will pay 6.25 percent of the total monthly premium, and those who have not obtained at least gold status will pay 12.5 percent. Effective Jan. 1, 2022, those rates will increase to 7.5 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

Effective this year, the city and union will convene a labor management committee comprising up to two bargaining unit members and up to two fire administration members. It will meet at least quarterly or an agreeable date at the request of either party to discuss matters of mutual concern.

Fire Chief Brian Ripley said he is glad to see a multi-year contract approved, while Mayor Nick Molnar said “the negotiating process went very smoothly, and everyone should be happy.”

About the revised sign code, no comments were made at a public hearing preceding the Council meeting. Law Director Mark Guidetti said the new code should be more user friendly. “It incorporates some other ordinances into the sign code,” he noted. Molnar added, “the revisions move us into modern times.”

OTHER BUSINESS

Council OK’d a memorandum of understanding with the Summit Soil & Water Conservation District and Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District for assistance in implementing soil and water conservation measures.

Also approved were measures authorizing the advance of local taxes by the Summit County fiscal office to the city for the 2020 tax year payable in 2021, and establishing a compensation schedule for non-union city employees effective Jan. 1, 2021.

Moving on to third readings were a resolution originated by Councilman Dave Finley opposing Gov. Mike DeWine’s executive orders relative to COVID-19, and an ordinance originated by Councilman Vinnie Ventura regulating portable, on-demand storage devices, construction dumpsters and dumpster bags.

Council Clerk Amanda Trzaska said several emails and phone calls were received from citizens relating to the governor’s COVID orders resolution, and a large majority did not favor it.

Molnar and Ventura stressed that the resolution was proposed by Finley and not the administration or Council as a whole. Council welcomes further citizen comments before the matter goes to third reading.

The proposed PODS ordinance states no such devices or construction dumpsters shall be constructed, erected or placed upon any residential property for longer than 24 hours without first obtaining a permit for $5 from the building department. The permit would be valid for 60 days, and could be extended by the city’s building official.

Molnar said he did not favor requiring a permit or charging the $5 fee. Some adjustments to the legislation will be made before a vote is taken at the next meeting.

Council re-elected Jan Tulley as president and Ventura as vice president, and reappointed Jessica Brandt as its representative to the parks-rec committee, and accepted a $500 donation from Jackson Comfort Heating & Cooling for heating upgrades at the Longwood Manor House.

Molnar announced an unnamed restaurant has expressed interest in taking over half of the former Golden Corral building, while another restaurant is possible in the other half.

Fire Chief Ripley said the department’s call volume in the city was down by about 200 in 2020, but calls overall, including in Northfield Center and Sagamore Hills townships, were up slightly.

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