St. Clairsville police to get stipend

ST. CLAIRSVILLE City council settled an issue of salaries for law enforcement while also advancing plans for paving during Monday’s meeting.

Council motioned to pay a work stipend of $1,000 to the eight fulltime patrolmen and two fulltime dispatchers, all part of the FOP bargaining unit.

The decision was reached after meeting last Monday with a fact-finder appointed by the state employee relations board to address the wage re-opener that was part of the FOP collective bargaining agreement for the third year of that agreement.

Law Director Al Davies noted that this is not a wage increase. The FOP has not received a wage increase during the past three years of the contract. The employees had originally wanted a 3.75 percent wage increase.

The city will begin negotiations with a successor collective bargaining agent Aug. 15, within 60 days of the Oct. 15 expiration date.

Council Member John Bukmir suggested consulting the finance director and seeing what measures can be taken to address non-union employees, who have gone four years without a wage increase.

Also, paving will be coming to the city late this summer. Council passed an ordinance authorizing the director of public services to solicit competitive bids for the resurfacing of streets in the city and authorizing an expenditure of $25,000.

Streets to be paved include Hanson Drive; Taylor Lane; Allen from Taylor Lane to Lakeview Street; Lakeview, Sunset Drive to Allen Street; Sunset, Lakeview to Hutchinson Drive; Sunset Drive, South Street to Lakeview; Hutchinson, Sunset Drive to upper Route 40; Hutchinson, Sunset to Route 9 lower, and Woodrow; South Butler Street; North Butler Street; Union Street behind the fire station; Ruggles Avenue; Bethel Lane east of Route 9; Park Street South, Ruggles to South Sugar; Circle Drive; Johnet Drive; Plaza Drive; North Market Courthouse Extension; North Market from Route 40 to Newell; Glendale Avenue; Park Drive; Greentree Drive, Legion Road to Millrose Drive; Millrose Drive, Legion Road to Parshall Avenue; McFadden Street; Orchard Drive.

Work should take place early August to the beginning of October.

In preparation, city employees will begin checking storm sewers, replacing those rotted out, and ordering valves and manhole rings and ensuring they are not buried in the process.

Mayor Robert Vincenzo reported attending a mayor’s reception last week with the Ohio Municipal League and state legislators. He reported little change in the issue of funding.

Hearings are still taking place regarding municipal income tax reformation, with revisions following each hearing. Vincenzo noted the goal is uniformity, citing the different systems used by the more than 300 different cities and villages. However, many have voiced concern about the possible loss of income tax revenue and unnecessary burden to a municipality’s ability to do business that may be caused by centralization. He added that municipalities have shown willingness to compromise, but have seen little evidence that their suggestions were being taken.

“We’ve agreed to a lot of principles of uniformity, however, none of the principles we’re agreeing to are ones that are going to take money away from us,” he said, adding that while the collection aspect has been removed, that may still be subject to change.

Meanwhile, local government funding has been cut, with more cuts to be expected.

In other matters, Service Director Dennis Bigler reported a flusher will arrive this week. He is also scheduling a work session with Courtney & Associates for an electrical study for May 29.

Council Member Frank Sabatino inquired about possible methods of noise reduction on the ODOT projects at Route 9 and the interchange. Bigler said the removal of trees along the site was necessary to the project and the vegetation would have provided minimal sound screening. A sound barrier would likely be limited in effect. Vincenzo added that the project remains beneath permissible decibel standards.

Vincenzo added that ODOT has adhered to its agreement with the goal of causing minimum disruption.

Acknowledgement also went to Russell Rouse, friend of the city and supporter of the bike trail, who recently passed away.

In other matters, council passed an ordinance accepting the final plat of the Sunset Drive property subdivision.

The fire district will hold its regular meeting Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Council Member Perry Jones thanked voters who supported the recent school and park levies. He added a wish that motorists be cautious since school will soon be let out for summer. Council Member Libby Heintzelmen added congratulations to the graduating class of 2013, complimenting the students on the example they set and their work in mentoring younger students.

DeFrank can be reached at