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Perry trustees give cops, road crew 2% raise plus 1% stipend

PERRY TOWNSHIP — Trustees granted 2 percent wage increases to police and road department employees Monday.

In addition, employees were granted a one-time only 1 percent stipend based on last year’s wages for dealing with COVID-19.

Trustee Chair Steve Bailey described the wage hikes as cost of living and merit raises for employees, saying trustees were “trying to make up for years they didn’t get raises.”

The raises will cost an additional $7,723 for the year and the stipends will cost an additional $3,300 for the year.

Employees affected include three road department employees, four full-time police officers and five part-time police officers.

In other business, trustees agreed to proceed with putting a 1-mill, five-year police levy renewal on the ballot, but it’s still up in the air whether the issue will appear on the primary ballot or wait until November.

Trustees voted at their last meeting to submit the issue to the Columbiana County Auditor’s Office to certify the amount. If renewed, the levy will generate $88,600 per year. The levy won’t cost taxpayers any more than they’re already paying since it’s a renewal of an existing levy.

Trustee Jim Armeni, who’s also the county recorder, said he talked to a representative of the county Board of Elections and learned that so far, no other issues are scheduled to be filed for the May primary, which means it’s possible the township would have to shoulder the whole cost for having the precincts open. He suggested waiting until closer to the Feb. 3 filing deadline to see if any issues file and if none do, wait until November. Bailey and Trustee Don Rudibaugh both agreed with postponing until fall if the issue is the only one for the primary ballot. Rudibaugh asked what the cost would be, but Armeni said he wasn’t told the cost.

Armeni said waiting until November won’t affect collections for the levy.

For the fire department, trustees approved several expenses, including: $1,204 for the annual SCBA flow test for SCBA airpacks (SCBA stands for Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus); $945 for annual test for Cascade system that fills air tanks; $1,200 for annual pump testing for Engines 72 and 76; $707 for Halls Safety to replace grill lights that were not working properly on tanker truck; $7,280 for the purchase of 10 Mobile One portable digital radios. The fire department had purchased 10 portable digital radios last year, also, so they won’t need to purchase any for awhile.

In financial matters, the trustees closed several funds due to inactivity. Fiscal Officer John Volio advised trustees that the state is trying to monitor bank reconciliations, so they may be getting a report on that. Notices will be sent out whenever bank reconciliations are 60 days behind.

“I think that’s a good idea,” Armeni said, adding reconciliations didn’t always get done previously and trustees weren’t aware.

Zoning Officer Allan Wolfgang issued a reminder to residents that the new zoning book is in effect. The updated document is available on the township website at www.perrytownshipsalemoh.org. He also said residents still need to contact him at 330-332-9965 before beginning any projects for a permit and to make sure they understand the zoning correctly. No permits have been issued so far in January.

He told trustees a complaint on Jones Drive is being addressed. He made contact with the owner of the property and some progress has been made in cleaning up.

He also said he has a meeting set up with a representative of Plan4Land about updating the zoning map. The new map will include an overlay of properties, making it easier to see what zone a property is in.

Troy Rhodes, of Ohio Edison/First Energy, attended the meeting to check in with trustees, reporting that everything is moving along with smart meter installations in the area and vegetation management will be starting for transmission lines. He said the county Emergency Management Agency is notified in case of calls from the public regarding the vegetation trimming.

Armeni asked if he handled areas in the township where there are no street lights and whether that would be assessed to homeowners if lights are added.

Rhodes said that is something he can work on and said it’s up to the township trustees whether to cover the cost or have it assessed on a property owner’s taxes. He also warned it’s not an easy process because a percentage of the property owners in the area affected have to approve.

In another utility matter, Armeni asked about having one of the trustees start attending Salem Utilities Commission meetings, referring to plans to increase sewer rates. Township residents who have city water and sewer service pay a surcharge since they’re outside the city.

“I think on behalf of our residents we need to start monitoring actions,” he said.

The next Board of Trustees meeting will be Feb. 8.

mgreier@salemnews.net

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