Mt. Pleasant discusses raises for managers
Should Mt. Pleasant Borough's non-union managers get a raise during a year of tight funds?
Council President Joseph Bauer and Councilwoman Cynthia Stevenson argued this week over whether raises should be given when the budget is tight. Bauer was angry because no members of council had brought up the raises or the necessity for a tax increase until this week.
Stevenson said it was not fair to the five managers when the union members were getting raises due in their contracts.
“It's one thing to give everybody a modest raise, and everybody would understand that,” Stevenson said, “but we created a whole new budget line (with more than $12,000) when there was nothing else there.”
The additional funds were added when the borough switched insurance providers.
Bauer said there are a number of streets in the borough that need to be repaved, and the money should go to those projects.
Councilman Corey Snyder agreed with Stevenson that the funds could be used to give the five “modest raises.” He added that council could have added a mill in taxes to take care of that and other needed items.
“You're on council,” Bauer countered. “You could have made a motion to raise taxes.”
Other council members said borough employees get good salaries and have excellent benefits.
Councilman James Wojnar agreed there should be raises but said council should be setting goals for the managers and assigning them raises based on their job performance.
Stevenson made a motion to provide the five, borough Manager Jeff Landy, borough Secretary Beverly Fedorchak, police Chief Stephen Ober, street department manager Mario Fontazza and waste treatment manager Norm Stout with 1.5 percent raises in the new budget.
The motion passed, 5-4, with Stevenson, David Pritts, Snyder, Tate and Wojnar voting for the raises. Bauer, Fred McCloy, Diane Bailey and Susan Ruszkowski voted against the raises.
Earlier, Stout reported on the construction of a stormwater runoff system. He said having his department do the work saved the borough a considerable amount of money, as much as $125,000. After the meeting, Landy said the savings were not budgeted, so the borough did not end up with an additional $125,000.
Council discussed doing exchange work with Connellsville Township. Stout said he had a sewer alignment laser tool built for several hundred dollars to align stormwater pipes. Council thought allowing Stout to help Connellsville Township and charging only the cost of the time for borough workers would work. Later, Mt. Pleasant might be able to borrow equipment from Connellsville Township instead of renting or purchasing it.
Council discussed a stormwater drain that was causing the collapse of a resident's driveway. Landy said arrangements had been made for the replacement pipe at no cost to taxpayers.
Council heard a report that Medic 10's finances are in good shape.
Bailey said she had been asked to help write a grant for federal funds for a new ambulance. After reviewing the types of information needed and the amount of time left for the application, she felt she would not be able to complete the application by the due date.
Mayor Gerald Lucia said the fire department has experience with filing grants. He suggested Medic 10 hire a professional grant writer. Grant writers often are paid only if the grants are received.
In other business:
• Lucia said a criminal justice student from Seton Hill University applied for an internship with the borough's police department. After a short discussion, council agreed to the request.
• Council reviewed and approved the proposed budget of the Mt. Pleasant Business District Authority.
• Council authorized advertising the 2014 budgets for the general fund, Medic 10 and Liquid Fuels.
• Council heard a report from Wojnar on the possibility of getting state grants to plan and bring into Americans with Disabilities Act compliance the parks in the city.
• Council approved a motion to participate in the 2014 “G” Conference with other municipalities in the region.
• Council approved the 2014 schedule of council meetings and the holiday schedule.
Karl Polacek is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-626-3538.