Swanton Village Council last week approved the first reading of an ordinance authorizing raises for village employees. The initial reading passed unanimously following a lengthy executive session.
Employees leaving the village for greener pastures helped to precipitate the payroll increase request by Swanton Mayor Ann Roth.
“It has been since April 2012 since the last raise of two percent. Seven people have left our employment in 2015 because all found similar jobs with higher pay,” said Roth. “All who left stated it was strictly for higher wages. None were unhappy working for the Village of Swanton.”
Council President Craig Rose agreed it was the right time for raises.
“After recently reviewing employee evaluations and carefully considering the fact that there have been no raises for over three years, council decided to start the process of approving raises for our hourly employees,” he said.
The ordinance calls for a four percent raise for employees, with a fire department pay schedule also approved.
Also at the meeting, council approved a new street light in the area of 226 Munson Road.
Councilman Mike Rochelle said council should look at the safety aspect of a new light.
“A lot of people walk on that road,” said Rochelle. “There are no sidewalks on that road; there is a walking berm.”
He added that he walks in that area and it gets very dark.
Council voted 5-1 to approve the new street light, with Tamara Haselman voting no.
Toledo Edison will have the final say on exactly where the light is placed, according to Village Administrator Jon Gochenour. He said a new light would likely cost between $900-$1,200, depending on whether a new pole is needed.
Prior to the regular meeting, council’s Water and Sewer Committee discussed the possibility of a new utility billing format to replace the current postcard system used for water and sewer bills. The village is looking into Smart Bill, a Columbus company.
Smart Bill provided a cost estimate for a three-color 8×11- inch bill, with postage, billing, and return envelopes included for $0.545 per item. The estimated cost would be approximately $12,400 per year, while the current cost is approximately $9,200 per year. An online invoicing and payment option is available for an additional fee of $1,800 per year.
The postcard mailings are sent to the Detroit area to be sorted before being sent to Swanton customers. This has resulted in delayed or lost postcards, according to village officials.
Whitehouse, Sylvania, Wauseon and Napoleon currently utilize billing services through Smart Bill.
The committee plans on gathering more information before any action is taken.
• Gochenour reported that the village received a grant to replace the bridge on West Garfield Avenue near Elton Parkway. The grant would pay for 95 percent of the project, with the village paying about $36,450.
The project is scheduled for 2018.
• The retirement of Jean Kelly, village finance director, was accepted by council, effective Aug. 14.
• Council approved the hiring of Mitchell Martin as a full-time member of the police department.
• An annexation agreement with Valleywood Golf Club was approved by emergency ordinance. The agreement calls for the current owners of Valleywood to not pay income tax. Employees will still pay income tax. The annexation, which includes over 100 acres of property, will likely be finalized at the next council meeting, according to Gochenour.
• Council approved the final reading of an ordinance to change the properties at 111, 115, and 117 Lincoln Ave. from general business commercial zoning to one-family residential.
Drew Stambaugh can be reached at 419-335-2010 or on Twitter @Swan_Enterprise