Grove City Council on Feb. 6 officially backed Issue 8, approving a resolution supporting the 38-year, $148-million bond issue, at 2.9 mills, for the South-Western City School District.

Grove City Council on Feb. 6 officially backed Issue 8, approving a resolution supporting the 38-year, $148-million bond issue, at 2.9 mills, for the South-Western City School District.

SWCS needs the issue to qualify for funding from the Ohio School Facilities Commission Classroom for its Facilities Assistance Program. If approved, the district and OSFC would share the cost of building 13 new elementary schools, replacing Franklin Heights High School and making minor renovations to Buckeye Woods and Darby Woods elementary schools.

SWCS finance director Hugh Garside told council that if Issue 8 were to fail, the state dollars that would be allotted to the district "will go somewhere else."

Garside said the bond issue would not raise the bond millage rate above 2012 collection levels. This would have the net effect of not raising the millage paid by homeowners.

The facilities project also would provide maintenance work, valued at $40 million, which has been postponed until now.

"If we don't pay for it now, we're going to have to pay for it later," Garside said.

Council also amended employment provisions to city employees.

Starting in July, city workers will begin to be paid a week in arrears to better account for sick days or overtime. The amendment also increases part-time parks and recreation and maintenance position wages to account for Ohio's minimum wage increase from $7.40 to $7.70 per hour for employees who don't receive tips.

Wage ranges for the positions are now $7.70 to $21.73.

Also, the deputy city administrator and director of public safety positions were changed from salary to an hourly rate. The deputy city administrator previously had a $51,000 to $65,000 salary range, while director of public safety had a $22,000 to $27,000 salary range. Both positions have been changed to a $29 to $48 hourly wage, which equates to a salary range of $60,320 to $99,840.

The changes will mean no immediate pay increase for Mike Wasylik, who has worked part time as deputy city administrator and director of public safety.

City attorney Stephen Smith told The Record the increase puts the two positions on par with other department head wages.

Whether more money is needed for wages, Smith said, will depend in part on the timing of new hires. City development director Chuck Boso succeeded Phil Honsey as city administrator when he retired earlier this month.

The city on Feb. 7 announced that William Vedra Jr. was hired as full-time deputy city administrator. See ThisWeekNews.com for more on the hiring.

Council president Ted Berry asked why the wage increases were not dealt with when the city's 2012 budget was approved at the end of December.

"We should've taken this into consideration then," he said.

Council also:

• Appropriated $30,832 from the capital improvement fund to pay American Electric Power for a utility relocation conducted in 2007-08 for work on Old Stringtown Road.

• Authorized the city to enter into a five-year, $3,160 contract with Pitney Bowes for a postage machine for the police department. The current $3,024 contract will expire April 1.

• Authorized the payment of $41,496 for prisoner housing costs.

• Heard Grove City Area Visitors and Convention Bureau president Rick Louder say Grove City's hotel industry generated about $15.5 million in 2011, a $5.5 million increase in six years.

• Heard from state Rep. Cheryl Grossman (R-Grove City), recognizing the city's parks and recreation department for renewal of its accreditation through the Commission of Accreditation of Parks and Recreation Agencies.