Tuesday, November 27th, 2012
By Shelley Grieshop
Raises likely for village employees
ST. HENRY - Village employees may see an average 2 1/2 percent raise beginning in January.
Council members on Monday heard first reading of the wage ordinance but did not discuss it. Second and third readings are planned for meetings on Dec. 10 and 17.
The new annual salaries for the highest wage earners would be $57,660 (up $1,560), village administrator; $51,314 (up $1,040), chief of police; $46,411 (up $1,040), public works superintendent; and $45,123 (up $1,040), public utilities superintendent.
Remaining the same would be the salary for Mayor Jeff Mescher, $4,250 per year, and village council members, $80 per meeting.
Council members also heard first reading to reappoint Rick Delzeith as the village attorney for the coming year. His salary would be raised from $600 to $650 per month with no benefits except those provided through the Public Employees Retirement System.
Delzeith is completing his first year as attorney for the village.
In other business, village administrator Ron Gelhaus said he received an "outstanding" quote for employee health insurance that is 20 percent below the current rate. The savings would be $2,300 per month.
"I don't see how we can't take advantage of it," he said.
The village presently contracts with Medical Mutual of Ohio through Stammen-Paragon Insurance of St. Henry. Medical Mutual's quote for the coming year fell $1 per month, Gelhaus said.
The cheaper quote came from Madison National Life Insurance, a new company working with Stammen-Paragon. The Wisconsin company is offering an introductory rate to organizations with 50 or fewer employees to "get their foot in the door here," Gelhaus told council members.
He noted that Madison has a top rating in the insurance field and is recommended by Stammen.
Employees will continue to use the same networks for physicians and hospitals, as well as the present deductibles and other plan services, Gelhaus said. He warned council that Madison could increase the rates to double-digit figures next year.
"But if we get hit hard next year, we'll go out looking again," he said.
Council member Steve Koesters gave the idea a thumbs up.
"I think we have to trust our (insurance) agent on this," he said.
Although all council members agreed, they opted to research the issue further before giving final approval.
Also on Monday, council members heard first reading on a resolution to authorize temporary appropriations of $818,875 for expenses during the first quarter of 2013. The resolution will remain in effect until approval is granted for permanent fiscal year 2013 appropriations.
Council members also,
• approved a motion that requires property owners to place truncated domes in new sidewalks at street intersections. The dimpled metal surfaces - a requirement of the American Disabilities Act - are placed in the cement to warn pedestrians of approaching intersections.
The truncated domes are approximately 3-by-4-foot and cost about $175.
• learned the village will share a $240,000 Ohio Public Works Commission grant with Coldwater for various infrastructure projects. The neighboring towns also will split a required $60,000 cash match.
• learned the final leaf/branch pickup is the week of Dec. 3-7. Gelhaus asked residents to get their items to the street early that week.
• learned work continues to enlarge one of the town's detention ponds on the west end of the village. The pond is now double its size and will eventually be three times bigger when the work is completed next year, Gelhaus said.
The overall project is designed to help alleviate flooding in town during heavy rainfalls.
• heard police chief Bob Garman warn that home burglaries often increase this time of year. He urged all residents to leave lights on in their homes.
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