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Columbiana council, police unions reach 3-year pact

COLUMBIANA — City council and its police unions negotiated a three-year deal last week.

Sergeants, patrol and dispatch make up the three unions that council is required to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with, and the legislation passed by council authorized City Manager Lance Willard to sign the three-year deal.

“I think whenever you have two groups working together, it’s important to keep the communication lines open,” Councilman Dan Bekar said. “That openness and transparency means a lot, and our men and women in blue do a good job of protecting our citizens. We should be thankful for everyone in that negotiation session.”

The deal includes raises that become effective at the beginning of each year, and they will be getting a 2.75 percent raise this year, followed by a 3 percent raise in the second year and a 3 percent raise in the third year.

“If you have one bad negotiation with any of the unions, that feeling could start to permeate through the other organizations,” Councilman Skip Liston said. “We don’t have that. Everybody works together, and that’s worth it. It benefits the citizens.”

In other business, the park board recommended a few slight cost changes for the pavilion rentals at Firestone Recreation Park and to clean up the language on the park rate ordinance ahead of the council meeting.

Council then approved changes to the summer rates, as the offseason rates remain the same. The main change was a higher rate all year around for Pavilion 4 because the park board installed air conditioning and heating into the unit.

Park Manager Terry Shaffer suggested to increase the year around rate to match the winter rate of $120 to offset the cost of electric for the air conditioning.

Willard also announced that Pat Tingle and representatives of Terra Design will be at the next council meeting to present the final plan for Phase 1 of the landscaping restoration of Firestone Park.

Council’s next regularly scheduled meeting is set for 7 p.m. Jan. 21.

slendak@mojonews.com

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