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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