Benefits for Ottawa council questioned
Wednesday, October 16, 2013 4:52 AM
OTTAWA - The Village of Ottawa council authorized advertising revisions to the village charter on Monday evening, but not before coming under fire during that meeting's concerns, hearings and requests portion of the agenda.
Jeff Ducey, Ottawa, addressed council with concerns about current language in the village charter and proposed changes regarding salaries and compensation."I was here last January when Mr. Yant made a motion to eliminate the medical benefit, or to have council members pay 70 percent of the premium," said Ducey. "It was seconded and voted on by council members. The vote was 6-0 in favor of eliminating, or at least having council members pay the 70 percent. Later, there was something in the newspaper saying it could not happen. It looks like, in this charter, that there is no way this could ever be challenged."
"At this point, we can't change the fact that those benefits are available," responded Ottawa Mayor Dean Meyer.
"That has nothing to do with the amendments proposed for the charter changes," said Ottawa Law Director Joseph Schroeder. "The current ordinance dealing with health benefits already says that it is subject to in-term pay rules. That's a law that's on the books."
"How would someone go about changing that? There has to be a way to get rid of that benefit," said Ducey.
"It would have to take effect after the next election," said Meyer.
Ducey referred to the council vote taken in January, to which Council Member Troy Yant responded, "At the time that the vote was taken, the ordinance didn't read that anything could happen. That's why we-re changing the ordinance to align with the in-term pay raise."
Yant explained that anyone who is running for Ottawa Council in the current election are doing so according to a contract that is already in place, so the proposed changes regarding health benefits will not be in effect until the next election, providing the charter changes are made.
Council discussed a request for sewer abatement for an Ottawa resident who restored his lawn following work done through a contract with Ward. As the resident did not discuss the repair with council prior to that individuals efforts, council voted not to grant the request. Council member Jo Deskins cast the only dissenting vote. Council did agree that residents need to be made aware that they should present similar concerns prior to doing any work themselves.
South Oak Street resident James Lovell expressed concern over the amount of semi-truck traffic on his road. Ottawa Police Lieutenant Josh Strick said that he would work with Ottawa Water Director Jason Phillips on installing additional signage to limit semi truck traffic from the neighboring industrial park.
Council President Tim Macke reviewed several funding opportunities available to the village through the Coastal Management Assistance Grant Program.
Council reviewed a request to move Ottawa's trick-or-treat observation to Sunday evenings in order to limit risk to young pedestrians. ALthough council determined that no date change can be made for 2013, this option will be considered for 2014 as long as there are no religious objections and the village of Glandorf is also interested in the chnage. Council member Gene Hovest pointed out that Ottawa and Glandorf traditionally hold trick-or-treat at the same time.
Other council business included:
Motions to authorize obtaining quotes for municipal water and wastewater chemicals for 2014;
Maintenance of community gardens on Hazard Mitigation Grant Program properties;
Closure of streets for the Christmas parade on Dec. 1 as well as the use of the municipal parking lot for post-parade activities;
Negotiating outside water and sewer contracts.
The next Ottawa village council meeting is scheduled for 8 p.m., Oct. 28.
story created on Tuesday 10/15/2013 at 11:39:18 am by Anne Coburn-Griffis
story modified on Tuesday 10/15/2013 at 5:55:40 pm by Kirk Dougal