WELLSBURG - Wellsburg City Council members, the mayor and other city officials will receive a raise next year following council's actions Tuesday.
City Council moved, by a 6-1 vote, to raise pay for whoever is serving on it after next year's election and by a 7-0 vote to raise pay for the mayor, collector-treasurer and city clerk.
Half of council's eight seats and the positions of mayor and collector-treasurer will be on ballots next year, and the raises will go into effect on July 1, the first day of their new terms and mid-term for those who won't be up for election until two years later.
Following the recommendation of the city's finance committee, council members will receive $250 for attending council's regular monthly meeting, up from $100; and $50 for attending all other committee and special meetings, up from $5.
The mayor will receive $500 for attending the regular council meetings, up from $300; and $50 for special council meetings, for which the mayor didn't receive compensation in the past.
No provision was made for the mayor's attendance at committee meetings, which are chaired by a council member. The mayor leads the council meetings and may be called upon to break a tied vote.
The city clerk, who records minutes for regular and special council meetings, will receive $400 for the monthly meetings, up from $300; and $50 for special meetings, for which the clerk wasn't paid in the past.
The additional compensation for the various officials attending special and committee meetings depends on their attending those meetings, according to the ordinances approved by council.
The yearly salary of the collector-treasurer will increase from $20,000 to $27,000. A raise for the police chief, also an elected position, was discussed but dropped because the chief received an increase in pay in recent years.
While the police chief and collector-treasurer positions are described as full-time in city ordinances, compensation for the other city officials has been based upon attendance at meetings, though those officials may and often do serve the city outside the meetings.
Voting for the raises were 1st Ward Councilmen Bruce Hunter and Mike Mitchell, 2nd Ward Councilman Paul T. Billiard, 3rd Ward Councilmen Randy Fletcher and Tom R. Diserio and 4th Ward Councilwoman Della Serevicz.
Fourth Ward Councilman Jeff Tarr voted against raises for council but supported the other raises. He couldn't be reached for comment. Second Ward Councilman Ron Michaux didn't attend the meeting.
Mayor Sue Simonetti said the raises are due because pay hasn't changed in 16 years for the mayor and council members and in six years for the collector-treasurer and city clerk.
She said residents should look at the increases as raises for the positions, not the people holding them, since most of the officeholders will be up in next year's election.
Ordinances establishing the raises underwent a first reading Tuesday. They will undergo a second reading at council's Dec. 11 regular meeting and must be approved before the city's election filing period begins in January.
In other business:
Billiard, who chairs the city's park and recreation committee, suggested council consider hiring an independent contractor to remove playground equipment at the former St. John School to be donated by St. John Catholic Church.
He said the equipment and a fence at the playground are cemented to the ground but are in nice condition and it would cost the city about $4,000 to purchase the equipment itself.
Council approved year-end bonuses of $300 for each full-time employee, $100 for each part-time employee and $50 for the city's crossing guards and meter readers.
Council approved a $3,300 contract with Pyrotecnico of New Castle, Pa. to provide a fireworks display for the city's New Year's Eve celebration. Each year the city provides light refreshments and music for those who gather on the town square to view the fireworks.
Council approved the $3,396 purchase of a debris loader to collect leaves. City Manager Mark Henne said the leaf machine purchased by the city last year couldn't handle the volume and was returned, with the city receiving reimbursement of its funds.
Council agreed to pay $1,625 to the Walter H. Drane Co. of Beachwood, Ohio, which prints its codebooks, to post the city's ordinances on its website.
City Solicitor Bill Cipriani said the ordinances also can be found at the company's own website at www.walterdrane.com.
Appointed Tarr to chair the finance committee, following Michaux's resignation from that position. Simonetti said Michaux intends to remain a member of the group.
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