by Cheryl Splain, KnoxPages.com reporter
MOUNT VERNON — City Council members set the salary scales for elected city officials at Monday's meeting. Salaries for council members and council president will remain unchanged at $8,378 for 2016 and 2017. The salaries for mayor, auditor and law director increase by 1.5 percent for years 2016-19:
Mayor: $67,475, $68,487, $69,514 and $70,557
Auditor: $64,128, $65,090, $66,066 and $67,057
Law director: $98,350, $99,825, $101,322 and $102,842
In December, council passed an interim $6.98 million budget for 2015. In meeting, council waived the three readings and approved a supplemental budget of $31.864 million; council also appropriated $1.658 million Clean Ohio funds received for the cleanup of the former American National Can property and $39,848.89 received from the insurance company on a house fire at 200 E. Gambier St., bringing the total budget to slightly over $40.5 million for the year. Of that, $3.1 million is in the capital improvement fund and $11,411,730 in the general fund.
Council paved the way for future expansion when it gave a first reading to legislation authorizing an annexation agreement with Pleasant Township. Council voted to hold a 15-minute discussion to determine whether to have the resolution read.
Mayor Richard Mavis said a petitioner requested that a 0.376-acre parcel which straddles the city-county line be annexed into the city. Before that process can begin, an agreement has to be in place with Pleasant Township Trustees. As with the Monroe Township annexation agreement, Pleasant Township will retain property taxes and receive proceeds from the existing road and fire/EMS levies. The city will receive income tax revenue, provide and maintain water and wastewater services, maintain roadways and provide police/fire/EMS services. Mavis said water and sewer services are already available to the area.
If council ultimately adopts the Pleasant Township agreement and a landowner wants to annex into the city, the landowner’s request will go through the city’s Municipal Planning Commission and be subject to city zoning requirements. The 0.376-acre parcel is carved from two larger parcels owned by Jerry L. Baker. Plans are for a house to be built on the lot.
Council gave a first reading to resolutions authorizing the safety-service director to solicit bids and enter into a contract for improvements at Ariel-Foundation Park and for the downtown connector bike trail. Council will hold committee meetings on to discuss both issues. A resolution authorizing the SSD to solicit bids and contract for 2015 street resurfacing also received its first reading.
Waiving the required three readings, council approved a number of appointments and reappointments to various boards and commissions:
*Dorothy Mickley, Metropolitan Housing Authority
*Larry Schafer, Ohio District 5 Advisory Council-Area Agency on Aging
*Jeff Ulrey, Municipal Planning Commission
*Dr. Emerson Laird, Margaret “Peggy” Mavis and Lois Hanson, Library Board of Trustees
Additional action passed as an emergency included:
*Authorization for the city auditor to pay bills
*Renewal of the contract with VASU Communications for radio equipment and service for 2015
*Authorizing the safety-service director to enter into a contract with the Knox County Career Center and the Mount Vernon School District for a school resource officer
*Raising the number of police officers from 18 to 19 to account for one officer moving into the SRO position