Rossford voters to decide council pay
Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer
Tuesday, 14 May 2013 08:58
ROSSFORD - City residents will be able to vote on the salary of city council and the mayor this November.
Council Monday decided unanimously to put two charter amendments on the ballot concerning raises for the positions.
Whether or not the raises would go through had been an ongoing saga since early this year, spurred by changes in the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System.
Under current OPERS rules, officeholders cannot receive benefits unless they make at least $600 per month.
By a close vote in January, Council originally approved an ordinance to raise council's pay to $600 a month, up from $250. Rossford Council, which has not had a raise in 20 years, has the lowest pay amongst area city councils, except Ottawa Hills.
Council decided later in January to rescind their vote and sent the measure back to the city's Finance Committee for reconsideration.
The Finance Committee reported back in March, recommending a monthly stipend of $700 for council members. This would mean a yearly salary of $8,400 for council, up from $3,000. Pay for council president would go up to $9,000 annually, from $3,300. Under a separate measure, the mayor would also receive a raise, going up to $18,000 a year, from $7,500.
Mayor Neil MacKinnon III, at a recent meeting, spoke in favor of the raise for council, but was less supportive of a raise in his pay - and spoke against it - asking that it, unlike the council raise, affect those officials elected after the measure passes.
A number of council members spoke up at Monday's meeting in favor of a mayoral raise.
"I respectfully would suggest to you that you re-examine your request that this particular ordinance not be passed," said Council President Larry Oberdorf Jr. to the mayor.
"This ordinance is not about you or the number of months that you've been (mayor), but it's about the position, the role of mayor."
"It's compensation that needs to be adjusted because of where we stand relative to other communities," said Michael Scott. He noted that, if the council salary measure passed and there was no raise in the mayor's pay, council members would be making more annually than the mayor.
"We do need to have a level playing field," he said.
"To (vote on the council ordinance) without the other just puts it on a future council to make this change," said Caroline Eckel. "Time and energy-wise it's prudent to do it together."
MacKinnon did not offer any statement on the ordinances during the meeting.
In other business, council:
• Accepted a grant of $7,315 from the Wood County Park District for the Rossford Recreation Department.
• Heard that first quarter revenue this year is down 7.8 percent over the same period in 2012. City Administrator Ed Ciecka said that a number of factors contributed to this, including reduced funding from the state.
• Was told by Fire Chief Jim Verbosky that the Northwest Ohio Volunteer Fireman's Association convention will be held in the city over Father's Day weekend, 2015. The event will coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Rossford Fire Department.
• Learned that Potter Development has moved their innovation headquarters to the former Indian Motorcycles shop at the Crossroads. Potter Development manufactures SkyLife, which is a method of bringing food, shelter and water to people in war-torn areas, or following natural disasters.
• Heard an update about a potential comprehensive regional dispatch/communication center. A report regarding the idea is currently in the works. Rossford currently uses Lake Township for its dispatch.
• Approved a temporary sign permit for the Bulldog Diner in the downtown.
• Honored the Rossford Junior High Wrestling team, which won the Northern Buckeye Conference Championship title after an undefeated season.