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County Council awards raises

5/1/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Ariel Hakim

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Summit County Council adopted legislation April 28 granting 1.5 percent raises to a slew of the county’s nonbargaining employees.

The item was approved unanimously without discussion among several other pieces of routine legislation.

The pay increases will be retroactive to April 1 for the 616 employees affected, according to county officials.

According to the legislation, the increases stem from a “me too” clause, following a recent fact-finding report recommending similar pay increases for deputies in the Sheriff’s Office.

Nonbargaining employees of Council, the Executive’s Office, Fiscal Office, Prosecutor’s Office, Sheriff’s Office, Clerk of Courts Office, Engineer’s Office, Internal Audit Department and Human Resource Commission are included in the legislation.

Jason Dodson, chief of staff for County Executive Russ Pry, said the action is consistent with the county’s past practices and is expected to cost the county $552,000 annually.

Council also adopted several resolutions following their first readings, including three not initially requested for first-reading passage.

Those three were all confirmations of construction contracts awarded by the Board of Control for 2014 road work, with Councilwoman Sandra Kurt (D-at large) recommending first reading passage to allow the contractors to get started as soon as possible, she said. They included:

  • the asphalt rejuvenating program, for $174,300 with the city of Akron and Bath, with $107,000 as the county’s share, to Pavement Technology Inc.;
  • the concrete pavement repair program, for $466,200 with three other communities, with $128,000 as the county’s share, to Liberta Construction Co.; and
  • the crack sealing program, for $174,100 with Bath and Twinsburg townships, with $43,800 as the county’s share, to Aero-Mark Inc.

In other action on new legislation, Council adopted a resolution to re-appropriate $76,800 in Moving Ohio Forward phase one grant funds from communities that did not utilize all the funds they were allocated to demolish blighted homes, according to Holly Miller, of the county’s Department of Community and Economic Development. Communities returning funds include Bath, Copley, Green, Northfield, Sagamore Hills and Stow, while Akron, Barberton, Fairlawn and New Franklin will receive funds, she said.

Council also adopted on first reading legislation appropriating $201,000 in grant funding from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction for the SMART Ohio Pilot Funding Grant.

Following receipt of the initial amount, additional grant funds could be awarded for reducing the county’s monthly average of low-level felony convictions to state penitentiaries, according to Summit County Common Pleas Court Executive Andrew Bauer.

Council also on first reading adopted a resolution opposing Ohio House Bill 369, a measure that interferes with local control over community mental health and addition services, according to Councilwoman Paula Prentice (D-District 8).

The legislation tells local Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADM) Boards where funds should go, prioritizing opioid drug treatment and housing, said Prentice.

“Our [ADM] Board does a nice job working with the community and setting up programs that are needed here in our county,” she said. “It would cause us to take money away from some of those programs and put them towards these programs.”

Council also adopted other legislation recommended in committee meetings last week, including amending the director of victim services position with the county from a classified to an unclassified position based on the job responsibilities.

Additionally, Council adopted a resolution to apply for a Water Pollution Control Loan Fund grant for up to $967,000 to finance the Manchester Waste Water Treatment Plant and a related sanitary sewer improvements project in New Franklin. The project was approved by Council last year, and this legislation is to set up funding, according to Mike Weant, of the Department of Environmental Services.

Council also adopted legislation to reduce the speed limit on Glenmount Avenue in Coventry, from Swartz Road to East Waterloo Road, to 35 mph, which is in line with recommendations from a recent speed study, according to Heidi Swindell, of the Engineer’s Office.

In other action on Monday, Council approved:

√ appropriating $12,400 to assist low-income electric customers with delinquent bills;

√ replacing a sport utility vehicle for the Medical Examiner’s Office;

√ accepting and appropriating $333,300 from a Drug Law Enforcement Fund grant, which includes a 25 percent local match, for the Sheriff’s Office to provide for salaries, equipment and supplies; and

√ advertising for bids for two collapse search-and-rescue vehicles to be paid for with Homeland Security grant funds.

Council also adopted legislation accepting a three-year agreement with Fifth Third Bank for taking credit and debit cards for child support payments in the Child Support Enforcement Agency.

Council will next meet for committee meetings May 5 at 4:30 p.m. in Council Chambers on the seventh floor of the Ohio Building, 175 S. Main St. in Downtown Akron.

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