Council votes to raise sanitation rates

Yuvona Morrison

June 25, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

City Council made quick work of its agenda Monday night, despite some items that will lead to change. As their first act of business, Council excused the absent Second Ward Councilman Rich Saddler. Then, after no one spoke on items on the agenda, passed 5-0 an ordinance raising sanitation rates.

The city currently has 7,471 active sanitation accounts and the present rates are $13.86 per month for non-seniors. That rate will now go to $14.97 per month. The current $10.59 for seniors will raise to $11.44 per month. The current rate of $12.19 for others (PMHA,etc.) will go up to $13.17.

Council authorized the appropriation of $40,000 to cover potential overtime expenses in the Portsmouth Fire Department.

Council also voted to put a pay raise for Council members to the voters of the city on the November ballot. Council members would get a raise from the current $600 a year to $5,000 and a raise from $1,000 to $6,000 for the Council president, currently Steve Sturgill of the city’s Sixth Ward. However, while it would raise salaries, it would eliminate the Council’s city-paid health insurance. Embedded within the amended Section 6, titled “Salary of Council Members and President of Council” is this critical wording: “Council members and the President of Council/Mayor may, from their salary, pay for city-sponsored health insurance or make other arrangements.”The final vote Monday night was 4-1 with Fourth Ward Councilman Jim Kalb casting the lone dissenting vote.

The only Consent Agenda item on the agenda was an ordinance authorizing Mayor David Malone to enter into a contract with J.M. Miller Enterprises to perform the electrical upgrades along the riverfront in the amount of $122,047.75 to be paid from CIP Fund number 301, despite City Auditor Trent Williams telling Council they didn’t need to pass the measure because it was already in the CIP, they suspended the three-readings rule and passed it 5-0.

Council also adopted a resolution providing for the annual tax budget for municipal purposes for 2014.

In other action, Council gave second reading to an ordinance authorizing the vacation of an alleyway located between the 2000 and 2100 block of Argonne Road and the west side of U.S. 23 (Scioto Trail) and a portion of Argonne Road and Spring Lane as it now exists. The ordinance would also lead to the relocation of Spring Lane, as requested by King’s Daughters Medical Center.

At the Mayor’s Conference session, Council decided to bring forward as a Consent Agenda item, an ordinance to revise the Codified Ordinances by adopting replacement pages to conform with current state law as required by the Ohio Constitution.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.