Fayette village council 3.18.09

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Council member pay—cut it or keep it?

Fayette council members voted in December to help cut costs by slashing their pay, but they soon learned it wasn’t that easy.

Instead, an ordinance was needed to make the change and it wouldn’t take effect until new council members were elected in November.

A pay ordinance is working its way through council that calls for the mayor’s pay to drop from $2,500 to $500 annually and councilor’s pay from $1,000 to $500.

Council heard the first reading of the ordinance Thursday.

Council member Ruth Marlatt said she favored the proposal initially but she’s having second thoughts.

She noted there are five council terms set to expire in November. With the tough economic times, the full pay might serve as an incentive for some people to serve on council.

Fayette’s pay is already the lowest of any community in Fulton and Williams counties, Marlatt said, which suggests that not much value is placed on serving.

“It looks like we don’t stand for much,” she said.

Councilor Jerry Gonzales disagreed, suggesting that “it says a heck of lot.”

Monetary gain isn’t supposed to be part of serving in local government, he said, and Fayette can lead by example. If someone is running for $500 or $1,000, they probably have the wrong intent, he added.

Ken Delphous said he thought the position was voluntary and he was surprised when he received his first check.

Acting mayor Craig Rower thought the pay cut was already figured into the 2009 budget and asked what services would be cut in order to maintain pay at the current level. Village fiscal officer Lisa Zuver pointed out that the cuts—which wouldn’t take effect until January 2010—were not part of the budget.

Marlatt suggested that council members as a group could vote to donate their pay for a particular need, if they wanted to give it up. She pointed to the door of the council chambers and said that a new door could be purchased to replace the rusting one.

If council members did choose to donate their pay back to the village, Metz said that council would have to vote to accept the money for placement in a specified fund.

CURBING—Council voted 4-2, with Delphous and Gonzales opposed, to pay the Ohio Department of Transportation $14,250 for remaining costs from the 2007 rebuilding of S. Fayette Street.

Council has been reluctant to pay the bill for months, but an approved change order from the project was recently found.

Engineering from the project covered the cost of new curbing set back to make a wider street, but it neglected the cost of moving catch basins. Neither the engineering firm (Arcadis) nor ODOT saw the mistake before construction began.

Former administrator Tom Spiess, who explained the engineering error, noted the project cost came in below the estimate provided by ODOT...

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  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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