City, unions getting closer

Staff report

GALION — City council on Tuesday passed tentative agreements with two employee unions: AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) and the International Association of Firefighters Local Number 435.

There will be a wage increase of 2.5 percent for three years. Employee insurance contribution is 15 percent with no cap. Both items passed as emergencies.

“We’re getting close to an agreement with the (Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association),” said Mayor Tom O’Leary. “And we’re meeting with the Fraternal Order of Police next week.”

Another piece of legislation gave approval for several fund transfers

  • $24,500 into Capital Outlay within the Mayor’s Office budget
  • $20,000 into capital outlay-infrastructure within the Line Department budget
  • $9,894 in materials and supplies within the Health Department budget
  • $3,600 into capital outlay within the Utility Office budget

Councilman Gail Baldinger took issue with the transfers not being discussed at a Finance Committee meeting prior to coming before council.

After a motion to suspend the rules and proceed to a final reading failed in a 5-2 vote, Health Commissioner Trish Factor spoke about the Health Department’s requested transfer.

“We cut costs in some other programs in order to transfer money to cover the cost of additional vaccines,” she explained.

Factor said vaccination clinics are booked through the end of the year, with some patients already scheduled next year. There was an overwhelming demand, partially due to the new state mandate for school vaccines. She said the department will run out of vaccines before the next council meeting.

That legislation was limited to a first reading due to the motion to suspend the rules failing. After discussion, council decided to call a special meeting today (Thursday) at 5:30 p.m.

A contract renewal with Efficiency Smart for energy saving services, which are available to both residential and commercial electric customers was given a second reading. If approved, the contract will be for three years at $146,526 per year.

These appropriation adjustments passed:

  • $500,000 for the purchase of electric power
  • $29,500 to cover expenses for the annual audit and State Auditor’s Office
  • $20,000 for payment to the YMCA for swimming pool operations
  • $12,000 to the Utility Office for software subscriptions
  • $12,000 for fuel purchase
  • $2,000 to the Street Construction, Maintenance and Repair Fund for contractual services
  • $1,500 to cover salaries for the Civil Service Commission
  • $1,000 for salaries and wages for in City Council budget

It also included several salary and benefit adjustments for the police, fire, line and sewer maintenance departments. The item passed as an emergency.

An authorization to bid a lease for the South Street Commerce Center passed as an emergency. The city’s current lease with Next Generation Films expires Dec. 31; the legislation allowed the new lease to be offered on a month-to-month basis. Thirty days’ notice is required if either party wants to terminate the lease.

The final piece of legislation passed, also as an emergency, accepted 2017 tax rates.

Staff report