After re-vote, resolution passes

By Scott Halasz shalasz@civitasmedia.com

March 15, 2014

XENIA —A resolution to amend the non-union wage ranges for city employees, which was the subject of heated discussions in February, was approved on Thursday. But not without some hesitation.

The resolution, which amended the maximum pay rate by 2 percent, originally failed with councilman Wesley Smith and council vice-president Joshua Long voting no while Mayor Marsha Bayless, councilwoman Jeanne Mills and council president Michael Engle voted yes. Councilmen John Caupp and Dale Louderback, who had a spirited debate about the resolution on Feb. 27, were both absent from Thursday’s meeting and because a majority did not vote yes, it failed.

However, Smith then threw a change-up and asked to reconsider his vote so the resolution would go ahead and pass. A motion to reconsider the resolution passed 4-1 (Long voted no) and then the resolution passed 4-1, with Long maintaining his no vote.

“I asked for the re-vote because I was on the fence on this issue, I knew city staff had spent quite some time on adjusting the salary ranges,” Smith said. “Although the majority of council 3-2 voted for the proposal, it takes four votes of council to pass. I know councilman Louderback was in support of it. Had he been in attendance the vote would have won. I wanted the city staff to have closure by passing this and move on to more pressing and important issues. In my opinion the 2 percent increase to the range is extremely minimal and may effect only a few staff members.”

It is the first increase to the maximum pay rate since 2009 and only affects approximately five employees, according to city clerk Michelle Johnson.

Repairs to the rough and tumble stretch of Wilson Drive between N. Detroit and Greene Memorial Hospital can begin immediately after swift action by council.

An emergency ordinance appropriating $283,298 to fix the oft-traveled stretch of road that has deteriorated due to the snow and ice melt-off was introduced and passed. Large portions were immediately filled but those repairs were temporary.

The road is used as the main access to GMH’s emergency room and other facilities.

“Wilson Drive is an important secondary feeder street,” Merriman said.

The condition of the road did not come as a surprise to the council.

“It’s really bad,” said Mayor Marsha Bayless. “Certainly for the ambulances going by, we wouldn’t want to injure the people anymore.”

Because of the urgency, the city did not go through a formal bidding process and went with John R. Jurgensen, Co., to complete the work.

The repairs were not anticipated and not included in the 5-year Capital Improvement Plan, but it won’t create a cash shortage for Xenia.

“We maintain reserve balances,” Merriman said.

Council also approved the the city entering into a grant agreement with the Ohio Development Services Agency to provide $50,000 for Brownfield property acquisition, per the Brownfield Action Plan Program.

The program targets areas for reinvestment and provides needed cleanup and revitalization. The grant will help with the purchase of properties at 249 Sycamore Street, which according to the ordinance, is a property that has “significant potential for environmental contamination based on a study of historical uses.”

The ultimate goal is to expand Xenia Station Park and parking and amenities to help attract users to the Eavey Building.