BY ALEX KING
Paden City Council held its first meeting of 2013 on Monday in which the third and final reading of a sewer rate increase was approved. The increase will go into effect March 1 and be seen on April's bill. Councilman Tom Trader again voted against the sewer rate increase.
The second readings for wage increases to the maintenance and police departments were unanimously passed. The salary changes will go into effect retroactive to Jan. 1. Hourly wages for the police department will change as follows: lieutenant, from $13.26 to $15.50; sergeant, $12.13 to $14.50; patrolman (academy graduate) from $11.22 to $13.50; and patrolman from $11.22 to $12.50. The salary of the maintenance department shall be increased as follows: $1 an hour effective Jan. 1; 50 cents an hour effective July 1; and budget allowing, 50 cents an hour effective Jan. 1, 2014.
In new business, the council unanimously passed the first reading of an ordinance to adopt the approved drug-testing policy pertaining to safety sensitive positions for city workers. There will also be additions to the
Employee Policy Manual regarding drug testing and weekend overtime for sewer and maintenance workers.
Members of the community attended the meeting to discuss the ongoing absence of councilman Glenn "Bob" Casteel, who has for health reasons been unable to attend council meetings since early September. To address the matter, Sue Flescher presented a statement written by citizens from the first ward, which Casteel represents.
"I'd like to address council representing first ward citizens concerning having a second representative to vote on decisions made by council," said Flescher. "While we all wish him well, we feel it is time to replace him on
"There is nothing in the charter under the circumstances we have now that would allow us to replace him," said Paden City Attorney Carolyn Flannery, "but you may be able to adopt an ordinance that would allow council temporary appointment." Such an ordinance would require the temporary councilor to step down upon return of the former councilor.
Those discussing Casteel's absence listed no other grievances against the councilman but stated a need for representation which they feel is not presently being met. Mayor John Hopkins assured that the council will look into drafting an ordinance for the temporary replacement of council members with ongoing health issues.
Another matter addressed by members of the community was the possibility of adding a sidewalk at the corner of Van Camp Street and Second Avenue for the safety of kids going to and from the elementary school. Resident John Baker stated that he would be willing to assist in raising money for the sidewalk if property owners agreed to it. Also proposed was the possibility of placing a crossing guard in that area.
Relating to the police department, budget revisions for a total of $2,000 were moved from capital outlay and into funds for supplies and uniforms; a locker from the municipal building will serve as an evidence locker; and a limit of $350 was set on the purchase of ammunition until June 1. The council also decided to meet after the meeting to look at applications for the police department.
Also, Police Chief Mike Kelly is asking for help in obtaining pictures of past Paden City Police Officers in uniform for display at the city building. He stated that any pictures used can be copied and returned.
Under park and pool: a plaque for Matthew Barker will go up at the baseball field; the girl's dugout has been cleaned; and the board is considering possibilities for repairing the roof of the pool building.
The council paid its bills and streets are on schedule to be paved in May.