Paden City Council agreed at their regular meeting Monday night to raise the pay of their part-time police officers.
Paden City Mayor John Hopkins said he felt there was a need to raise the salaries of part-time police officers to a level that allows the town to stay competitive. That would guarantee, he said, to have coverage without using so much overtime. Hopkins said he felt they would save money, by eliminating much of the overtime spent, especially on the weekends.
Councilman Dan Probst said the city is currently paying $11 per hour for certified part-time officers and he believes they should at least be paying $13. He said,
"We currently have four officers and one is due to go to the State Police Academy and another may have to have surgery. If we can get the pay competitive, we should be able to get commitments from certified officers." He said there is one from Tyler County who helps us quite a bit and we can usually count on him.
Councilman Tom Trader questioned whether the city could afford to raise the salary. Mayor Hopkins again said he believes the city will save money. "We will not have to be looking to hire, which will save us money on benefits and we will have a police force including the part-time officers who will all be certified."
City Recorder Tammi Billiter questioned whether it would be right to pay part-time help in the police department the same as full-time employees.
Mayor Hopkins said, "Whether they are full-time or part-time they would all be certified, so the only difference would be benefits." He suggested raising the pay for part-time officers to $13.50, which would be the same as the full-time police receive.
A motion was then made by Jim Richmond and seconded by Dan Probst to amend the ordinance to raise the rates of part-time officers to that of full-time officers. Motion passed unanimously with the exception of Councilman Rick Casteel, who was absent from the meeting. The motion to change the ordinance requires there be two readings of the change and then a vote of council to approve.
Discussion was also held on a pending lawsuit against the city concerning a property line dispute. The lawsuit involves the issuance of a permit to allow a trailer to be placed too close to a property line, in violation of a city ordinance. City Attorney Carolyn Flannery said she felt it was more of a dispute between property owners and she didn't feel the city needed to do anything at this time. She said it looked like the attorney representing the city was going to file a motion to dismiss. Mayor Hopkins said he felt the city may need to require a survey be done by anyone building or putting up a structure or trailer, to insure they meet the footage requirements of the ordinance.
Recorder Billiter said the permit was issued based on the recommendation of the city employee who went up and inspected the site. She said he found an old marker and measured off of it. She went on to say that a year-and-a-half went by and nothing was said until the adjourning property owners appeared before council wanting the trailer moved. It was decided there was no action necessary to be taken at this time.
The second reading of amendments to ordinance 153.03 dealing with the appointment, terms, removal, and vacancies of board members of the development authority and the amendment to ordinance 154.04 dealing with the qualifications of board members both passed by unanimous vote of those present.
Council unanimously approved burning season to start in mid-March and close at the end of April.
A special meeting was set for March 17 at 5 p.m. to approve the 2014-2015 fiscal year budget. Motion was also made and seconded to approve the ballot commissioners for the coming election. Motion passed unanimously.
The police department has two new cruisers that are in and will be picked up on Wednesday. One of the old cruisers will kept in service and another one kept for parts, with the Durango to be sold.
Council approved advertising a Dodge Durango police vehicle for sale. It will be advertised in the local papers for two weeks and bids will be opened on April 7, at the next regular meeting.
No action was taken on a building permit ordinance that was on the agenda.
Under the committee reports: No financial report was given. Approval was given to pay the bills. Under the heading of water, Mayor Hopkins asked council for permission to use one lab for water testing instead of three.
He said it would be a cost saving measure and would still be effective. He said under the current system they have experienced problems getting samples to the lab, and this would make it easier to do and save on postage.
The sewer report was scheduled to have Tim Meeks of the Mid Ohio Valley Regional Council address council concerning sewer rehabilitation issues, but he was unable to be there. Mayor Hopkins stated that with the new storm sewers, water is getting to the plant more quickly, but there are still problems that have to be addressed.
The street department has been busy clearing the streets and patching holes. Mayor Hopkins said he spoke to Terry Wade of J&J Paving and was told it is hard to get the patch to stick in this kind of weather. He said when the weather breaks they will try and get the patching taken care of. Councilman Trader brought to council's attention a culvert that had broken loose and was laying in a ditch at the top of Work Street. Mayor Hopkins said he would bring it to the attention of the street department. Councilman Probst, mentioned the need for a crossing guard at the elementary school highway site, due to an accident to the crossing guard, who fell and broke her leg. It was agreed the job, which pays $250 per month and requires an hour a day, could be filled temporarily. Anyone desiring to fill the job may do so by contacting the city building.
The fire department report showed five motor vehicle assists, one service call, and three mutual aid calls.
Mayor Hopkins said he had received a few calls thanking the city for having some vehicles removed from the city streets. He thanked the police department for their work in doing that. He also said the city had sent a letter to the property owners of the trailer on Third Avenue that was taken down.
He said they were told they could be fined up to $100 a day if they didn't finish removing the debris. He said he believes the job is complete.
Probst said the Park and Pool Commission has entered into an agreement with the Wetzel County Board of Education to rent the ball fields from March 1 to June 1, for $1,600. He said the agreement calls for any major repair costs to also be split three ways by the Park and Pool Commission, the PC Boosters, and the Wetzel County Board of Education.
He also said plans to repair the swimming pool are in the works and volunteer help has been offered. He said he believes the pool will be back in shape and running in time for the season.
Advertising for pool manager, life guards, and concession workers has begun.
Larry Potts reported on the Paden City Development Authority, saying there was a leak in the Health and Recreation Building roof over the old cafeteria, which is being repaired.
The next regular scheduled meeting of the Paden City Council will be April 7, at 7 p.m.