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Peninsula Council wrangles over street department position

4/11/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Pam Lifke

Council also OKs income tax increase issue for November ballot

Although a full-time position is budgeted for 2013 and no alarm has been sounded by the village fiscal officer, Peninsula Councilman Brian Schall initiated action to reduce Street Department employee Charles “Skip” Ausberk to part-time.

Schall, citing financial concerns, made his motion at the April 8 Peninsula Village Council meeting. The motion was approved by a split vote. Schall, Council President Doug Anderson and Councilman Dan Schneider voted to reduce Ausberk’s hours. Council members Charlie Moyer and Dee Holody voted against the motion. Councilwoman Mary Booth was absent.

Schall, however, did not specify in his motion a date for the reduction in hours to begin.

Mayor Doug Mayer said no action could be taken until the meeting’s minutes are approved in May. Council will have the opportunity to clear up the issue of timing at the May meeting, Mayer said.

The issue drew heated discussion, including profanity from Schneider, who later made a motion to limit Ausberk, as a part-time employee, to 24 hours per week. The motion passed 4-1, with Holody casting the lone dissenting vote.

Schall also requested in August to have Ausberk tested for drugs. At the time, Mayer said he was surprised by the request, as there was nothing in Ausberk’s job performance that indicated such testing was warranted. Council declined Schall’s request at the August meeting.

Ausberk was a part-time village employee until June 2012, when Council agreed to hire him full-time at a rate of $12 per hour.

Also during the meeting, Council approved on first reading legislation to place an income tax increase on the ballot in November. The tax issue asks voters — for the fourth time — to approve an increase in income tax from 1 percent to 2 percent.

Also approved on first reading were two pieces of legislation that would allow the village to institute paid parking through the use of an electronic pay station and permit the village to secure a loan to pay for the equipment.

Council will host an informational meeting May 13 at 6:30 p.m. for citizens who have questions about implementation of the parking station.

Holody said village residents would be exempt from paid parking. The solar-powered pay station initially would be set up for card swipes only. Conservative estimates of revenue from the parking station are $43,000 per year in gross receipts, Holody said. Expenses in the first year, which includes the purchase of the equipment, are estimated at $20,000. After the first year, expenses are estimated to be around $6,000 annually, she said.

Holody also outlined a plan for spending proceeds from paid parking. She said she would like 45 percent of the net revenue to be spent for infrastructure, such as crosswalks and sidewalks, village beautification and planning, including development of a “true comprehensive parking plan.” Holody would like another 10 percent of the proceeds to be earmarked for a reserve. The remaining 45 percent would be funneled to the General Fund, she said.

In other action, Council:

  • authorized the mayor to explore options for disposition of the Player’s Barn that would benefit the village;
  • heard that meetings between the village and Boston Township trustees regarding possible collaboration on an economic activity district are progressing;
  • heard Valley Fire District has purchased a used tanker from Cuyahoga Falls for $60,000 and has ordered a new emergency medical services vehicle that will be delivered in 2014; and
  • noted the Planning Commission will move its meetings to 7 p.m. on the third Monday of each month.

Council’s next regular meeting will take place May 13 at 7 p.m. in the second-floor Council room of Peninsula Village Hall, located at the corner of state Route 303 and Akron-Peninsula Road.

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