Home Politics City Council Members propose salary increases and adopt two heavy-hitting ordinances

City Council Members propose salary increases and adopt two heavy-hitting ordinances

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During Monday night’s City Council meeting, members proposed an ordinance that would raise the salaries of all council members, the council president, the county auditor, the law director, the council treasurer and the mayor.

The ordinance was presented by all council members, but At-Large Rep. Chris Knisely explained the proposed ordinance.

“What is proposed after some discussions and review of the items by the administration and the auditor’s office is a 2 percent raise per year,” Knisely said. “For two years there has been no increase for council members. The treasurer’s office has not had an increase in some time.”

The raises would be effective after January 1, 2016, at the start of the next term for newly-elected and incumbent officials.

Mayor Paul Wiehl announced Monday night that he would not run again for mayor, and Law Director Patrick Lang secured a position as a judge for the Athens County Court of Common Pleas in the November 2014 election.

Full-time elected positions include the mayor, the auditor and the law director. The salary for mayor will increase from $78,130 in 2015 to $84,570.42 in 2019. The auditor and the law director have the same salary, which will increase from $67,886 in 2015 to $73,482 in 2019.

Part-time positions include the council president, council members and the treasurer. The salary of the council president will increase from $9,469 in 2015 to $10,250 in 2019. The salary of council members will increase from $7,612 in 2015 to $8,240 in 2019. The treasurer’s salary will not increase until 2018. It will increase from $14,642 to $16,167 in 2023.

Auditor Kathy Hecht said a tax increase would not be necessary to make room for the salary increases in the budget.

“Our tax revenue usually increases or stays the same,” Hecht said. “The cost for these raises is only a few thousand dollars a year. As far as working that into the budget, we might put a little bit less into supplies or something like that. Compared to other departments, the cost of these raises isn’t really substantial to us.”

In other business, the council passed the ordinance banning use of all tobacco products in public ways. The fine for using tobacco products on sidewalks, in parks and in other public areas is $150.

The Council also passed the trash ordinance with only one objection, from First Ward Rep. Kent Butler. Butler said the reason for his objection was that he wanted other things to be given more importance than the trash ordinance. The fines for having trash cans visible are $50 on the first offense, $75 on the second and $100 on the third offense.

Athens has also become a Certified Local Government, a certification held by only 62 other cities in Ohio, Mayor Wiehl announced at the meeting. This certification gives Athens a leg-up when applying for state and federal grants.

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