Thursday, July 27, 2017 Medina 69°
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Medina mayor, finance director get pay raises

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Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell and Finance Director Keith Dirham were given 2 percent annual pay raises over the next four years at Medina City Council’s Finance Committee meeting Monday.

City Council members also will get raises each of the next four years.

Council followed the recommendation of an ad hoc committee that researched salaries of elected officials from municipalities similar to Medina.

The committee was made up of residents Mike Jenks, Stacy Bonitz, Phebe Simpson and Mike Hughes and met twice on March 22 and April 6.

The mayor’s current salary is $80,000. It’s been adjusted almost every year since 2002, when the position became full-time, in what has amounted to an average raise of about 3 percent, Council records showed.

Hanwell will receive a 2 percent bump each year in the next four years, starting in 2018.

“The mayor is equivalent of a CEO of the city,” Ward 2 Councilman Dennie Simpson said.

Simpson said he believed the mayor’s salary should be higher than the finance director’s.

Dirham’s salary increased about 1 percent each year, starting in 2013, raising his salary from $82,341 to almost $85,000 in 2017. He had received a 3 percent raise annually over a four-year period before 2013.

City Council members also adopted a recommendation from the ad hoc committee about their own compensation. Currently, Council members are paid $500 a month and Council President John Coyne is paid $750.

Under the new plan, Council members will be paid:

  • $660 a month in 2018
  • $695 in 2019
  • $730 in 2020
  • $765 in 2021

The Council president will receive:

  • $990 in 2018
  • $1,043 in 2019
  • $1,095 in 2020
  • $1,148 in 2021

Coyne said he did not believe the president should be paid that much more money than the other members of Council.

“I don’t look at it as a salary,” At-large Councilman Bill Lamb said. “You want people here because their heart’s in it. Government should be less about us and more about service.”

The minimum earned salary to qualify for a credit month for calculating eligibility for PERS (Ohio Public Employees Retirement System) insurance benefits at retirement was raised to $1,000 a month.

The insurance minimum is created as an “all or none” system, meaning that months in which the member earns below $1,000 are not counted.

Council and the Council president have not had their salary adjusted since 2008.

Parking deck update

Kimberly Marshall, director of the city’s Economic Development Department, announced a proposed timeline on the parking deck project proposed to be built near City Hall.

City Engineer Patrick Patton said the total cost of the project would be $3.5 million and take about 15 months to complete. The city would have to come up with a $1 million match on a possible grant from the state with the remaining $1.5 million to be addressed later.

The city is working with the state on partial funding for the deck, and the deadline for a proposal filing is March 2018.

“We don’t want to wait that long,” Marshall said.

She said she hopes Brian S. Cooper, of Umbaugh Associates in Worthington, an expert on an accounting procedure known as tax increment financing (TIF), will present a draft of an analysis to the Medina school board July 10.

Since TIF is a system of redirecting real estate taxes, the school district could be affected and thus must approve the financing. She’s hoping the board can make a decision by July 25.

Cooper is expected to present a draft of his TIF analysis to City Council at its finance committee meeting Aug. 28.

Council is expected to adopt the TIF analysis and approve the budget for the parking deck funding Sept. 11.

An attorney will be hired Sept. 25 for TIF legislation and developer agreements.

The city’s plan is to submit the application to the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission for review Oct. 15. The state has 30-60 days to review the project.

The state can generate the grant agreement as of Jan. 2. Council could then approve the grant agreement that month.

TIF money must be used to fund public improvements and could be used to build the parking deck. Real estate taxes are abated and payments in lieu of taxes are collected in the same amount and same manner as property taxes.

“Build it and they will come,” At-Large Councilman Paul Rose said.

Court clerk request

Medina Municipal Court Clerk Nancy Abbott asked Council for a new case management software system from Benchmark by Pioneer Technology Group.

“What I have is dying on the vine,” Abbott said.

She said the current system’s licensing expires at the end of the year. Abbott said she would be able to come up with about half of the needed $396,000 amount.

The computer system covers the offices of Municipal Court Judge Dale Chase, the magistrate and probation.

“A decision has to be made by the end of the year,” Abbott said.

Memorial Pool update

Medina Community Recreation Center Director Mike Wright released some data about the first two weeks of operation of the newly reopened Memorial Pool:

  • Season passes — $13,430
  • Daily admissions — $10,696
  • Concession stand revenue — $1,369
  • 2 cabana rentals
  • 677 total attendance
  • 265 punch cards offering five pool visits sold
  • 80 season passes sold
  • 323 season pass holders
  • 429 pass scans, members using facility
  • Blocked two sexual offenders from using pool with its new ID policy

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or at rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.

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