Article provided to MiltonNews DAILY courtesy of the Weekly Record Herald; published on March 11, 2011
By Clint Haggart
Record Herald Writer
WEST MILTON – It appears that due to lack of ordinance support, Village of West Milton staff will not be getting a raise this year.
Tabled on the March 8 council agenda was an ordinance to increase the wages of West Milton village staff. The ordinance died on the table.
Councilor Susan Willis said after the meeting that by dying on the table, the ordinance will not likely return for discussion and, effectively, employees are not getting wage increases.
During the meeting, Willis read a statement, saying she personally wanted to thank employees for their dedication and hard work.
“It’s been stated that we need to reward our employees for a job well done. And to keep them as employees, I agree,” she said.
Willis then related that between contributions to a Health Savings Account (HSA) and pay raises in 2009 and 2010, she feels the council has shown their appreciation for the employees.
“But with these tough economic times that we all are facing, everyone has to cut expenses somewhere. One way the village can cut expenses is not to give the employees a pay raise this year,” Willis said.
West Milton resident Kathy Utz agreed with this opinion, asking the council to keep in mind the new state government and expected budget cuts and “please, look at things conservatively.”
Funding that did pass was emergency appropriations for the 2011 budget at a cost of $3,683,424. This amount will be spent between the general fund and 15 other specific funds.
Other concerns came from resident Don Edmunds. Noting he had raised the issue with council before, Edmunds pointed out that the loading dock of the former Valor Enterprise Inc. building on Hamilton Street is still full of water.
Municipal Manager Tony Howard said the loading dock has been pumped out twice, the owner, who is under forfeiture, has been contacted and warning tape has been put up.
The water keeps filling the hole and village staff have suggested the drain is clogged somewhere halfway across the lot.
Edmunds said the warning tape is not up and there is a basketball floating in the water. He is worried a child may try and retreive the basket ball. Howard said someone probably tore the tape down.
Mayor Pat Grim suggested filling the loading dock with sand, while Edmunds offered a solution of erecting a snow fence behind the dock.
The dam was also a source of discussion at council.
As part of the actual agenda, non-resident “Save the Dam” supporter Walt Reister asked council to get a third-party evaluation on the condition and costs for repairing the villages low-head dam.
“Then you can make a good decision and we’ll work with you,” he said.
Grim asked, if she had a boat, where could she get public access? Reister said he is surprised there isn’t one already and that the village could ask Ohio State’s Scenic Rivers Program for a contribution.
Don Martin asked about access to the area around the dam, noting in the past it was open to the public but now it is gated and there are no tresspassing signs.
“It’s public property. Why can’t we use it,” he said.
Howard explained the decision to close the area was made before his time as manager and suspected it was closed because the village has unused assets at the dam and there has been vandalism.
The manager said the gate can be opened to the public upon request.