Local Pictures
Classified Ads
 Announce Births
Email Us
Buy A Copy
Local Links


12-24-03: Mendon staffers to keep pay hike

Mayor unsuccessfully tries to cancel raise; electric rate may rise

MENDON — Village employees apparently will get the pay raises recently granted to them by Mendon Village Council despite a call by the mayor to rescind them.
Mayor Ron Griesdorn used a special meeting Tuesday to attempt to reopen discussions on the pay raise issue in the waning days of his administration. But council failed to get a quorum of members, so it met informally with just three members and the mayor. The group also talked about an anticipated electric rate increase and a lease agreement with Bright.net.
Griesdorn brought up the pay issue after a contentious debate about the town’s electric fund and whether a rate increase is necessary. Finances also are tight for the rest of the village’s funds.
“If we don’t know where we’re sitting, why in the hell are we giving raises?” Griesdorn said.
Griesdorn said some people in town already are equating the electric rate increase with the pay raises.
Council President Roy Davis, who successfully lobbied at the Dec. 16 regular meeting for council to keep the 3 percent raises in the budget for 2004, said there is nothing wrong with the electric rate increase being partially used to fund wage increases. The town’s Board of Public Affairs had recommended no raises in light of looming budget problems.
Other council members dismissed the discussion by pointing to council’s prior vote in favor of the pay hikes.
Griesdorn said council should “un-vote” the raises.
The electric rate increase would generate a total of about $56,000 annually. The cost of the additional payroll with the raises would be about $2,500, village officials said.
Council member Janice Clay said residents who don’t like the increase can “suck it up,” because rates haven’t been boosted in nearly 20 years.
“I don’t think ($2,500) is going to make or break the system,” Clay said.
As for the electric rate, it apparently will take effect Jan. 1. Some council members had believed they must approve the increase before it could take effect, but officials said Tuesday that the Board of Public Affairs has the discretion to adjust rates. That board has called for the minimum charge to be doubled from $3.50 to $7 monthly and for kilowatt-hour rates to be adjusted slightly to avoid a $20,000 deficit in the electric fund next year.
Board of Public Affairs Chairman Karl Duff said he is investigating the electric funds performance in recent years to see why a healthy balance has turned into a deficit. Duff told council members he believes there may be some accounting problems that have drawn too much money from certain electric fund line items to help pay general operating costs.
“Something’s gone haywire,” Duff said.
Village officials also believe there may be a glitch in state accounting computer software that prevents them from getting a clear picture of the electric department’s finances.
The three council members also briefly discussed a proposed lease agreement with Bright.net to install and use an antenna on the village’s water tower. With only half of council members present, council could not vote on the issue, which has been in the negotiation stages for nearly a year.
Some council members had expressed concerns about exit language in the contract, insurance issues and the cost of utilities for the Bright.net apparatus.
The three council members in attendance Tuesday said there concerns have been addressed as long as the village’s insurance agent gives the OK that existing coverage meets the terms of the lease. The five-year lease would pay the town $1,080 annually.
Concerns about exit language were clarified by Solicitor Judy Koesters and officials have decided the electricity use by the antenna would be negligible.
It is not clear whether village officials will delay action on the lease until their regular January meeting or meeting again in special session to attempt a vote.


Phone: (419)586-2371,   Fax: (419)586-6271
All content copyright 2003
The Standard Printing Company
P.O. Box 140, Celina, OH 45822