Whitehall News

Whitehall City Council

Members poised to see raises starting in 2014

By

Whitehall City Council on Oct. 2 was scheduled to consider applications for two special permits, as well as an ordinance that would increase the salary of council members beginning in 2014.

Under the proposed ordinance introduced Sept. 4, the annual salary of a council member would increase from $4,000 to $4,600, and that of the council president would increase from $4,700 to $5,400.

"City Council members have not had a raise since 1996," Whitehall City Council President Jim Graham said.

Department directors have received raises since then, but council members opted not to provide raises for themselves when salary increases for the administration were approved.

The raise would not be effective until Jan. 1, 2014, when new council terms begin. Current council members are prohibited from considering in-term salary increases.

The ordinance was scheduled for a third and final reading and was expected to pass.

Also up for a final reading and public hearings were two ordinances granting special permits for a temporary building at one location and an automotive service center at another.

Kroger, 3675 E. Broad St., sought a special permit to allow the construction of temporary building for use incidental to additional construction work at the site.

Nathaniel Fiamahn sought a special permit to allow an automotive service business at property that Theano Zississ owns at 4429 E. Main St.

Two additional ordinances and two resolutions were up for a third and final reading and expected to pass Oct. 2.

They included an ordinance transferring $6,600 from various general-fund accounts to the director-of-information-technology salary account, transferring $250,000 from a tax-increment-financing fund to the general fund, authorizing the mayor to contract with the Ohio Department of Transportation to upgrade traffic-control devices and authorizing the mayor to apply for federal funding for air-quality improvement mandates.

One ordinance and one resolution were scheduled for a second reading, including legislation that authorized the issuance of bonds not to exceed $10 million for the purpose of "constructing, improving, furnishing and equipping a community center" and "improving and renovating the city's event center."

In May, after a process of several years, Whitehall officially received a title to the former U.S. Army Reserve Center in Whitehall.

The U.S. Department of the Army declared the 25,000-square-foot facility, at 721 County Club Drive, excess property in 2005 as part of that year's Base Realignment and Closure program. As such, it was made available to Whitehall for $1, providing that the President Kennedy-era building is converted to a public use, such as a community center.

Whitehall Mayor Kim Maggard received the deed and signed it May 10. It has been recorded with the county auditor, formally and officially transferring ownership of the 5-acre parcel, worth about $850,000, to the city of Whitehall.

"Now that it is in our possession, we can fully start the process (of building a community center for our citizens)," Maggard said.

However, it will be a lengthy process, perhaps as late as 2015, before a facility is open.

An advisory committee, whose members include councilmen Bob Bailey, Leo Knoblauch and Wes Kantor, and parks and recreation director Steve Carr, will recommend a plan for its construction.

Three ordinances and two resolutions, introduced during the Sept. 25 meeting of the committees of Whitehall City Council, were scheduled for an introduction and first reading during the Oct. 2 council meeting.

Among those was an ordinance transferring $100,000 from non-appropriated general funds to the legal-defense expense account.

The additional funds are needed in association with the city's effort in the Environmental Division of Franklin County Municipal Court to obtain a court order for the demolition of Woodcliff Condominiums, considered by the city as a public nuisance.

At issue is the condition of the 317 units, at the northeast corner of East Broad Street and South Hamilton Road, as well as reported safety- and health-code violations.

Parties failed to negotiate a settlement last month, and a trial is scheduled for late October.


Comments