NILES Action will raise pay for officials

Council held off taking an official position in a dispute over Shadowridge construction plans.
NILES -- City council has started the ball rolling on pay raises for its members and other positions.
Lawmakers gave first reading to an ordinance Thursday that would raise the salaries of the mayor, the auditor, the law director, council members and the council president.
The mayor makes $45,000 a year; the auditor, $38,000; the law director, $35,000; council members, $6,000 each; and council president, $6,300.
Under the proposal, the mayor's salary would increase to $52,500 next Jan. 1, then to $60,000 on Jan. 1, 2006. The auditor's pay would increase to $45,500 in 2004, then $53,000; and the law director's would increase to $38,000 in 2004.
Council members would receive $6,500 beginning in 2004 and $7,000 in 2005. Council president would make $6,800 in 2004 and $7,300 in 2005.
The increases are based on information from the Ohio Municipal League's 2002 survey of salaries of elected and appointed officials of comparable cities.
Another matter
Citing a desire to make sure the city's position is heard, council unanimously agreed Thursday to appoint a committee to attend a mediation hearing regarding a local condominium development.
Developer Louis J. Tripodi petitioned Trumbull County Common Pleas Court earlier this year for partial relief from a 1988 court decision that would allow him to modify his development plans for Shadowridge Villas on Tripodi Circle.
Judge John Stuard of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court has assigned the case to a magistrate in hopes a mediation session will produce an agreement.
Council agreed to send Councilmen Michael Lastic, Reginald Giancola and Stephen Papalas to the mediation hearing on behalf of the city.
A hearing set for 9:30 a.m. Wednesday has been postponed. No new date has yet been set.
A lawsuit filed by residents of Shadowridge Villas asked that Tripodi not be allowed to amend construction plans that called for four-plex condos.
Citing the declining economy and an inability to find companies willing to develop such condos, Tripodi wants to change the original plans.
The original judgment allows Tripodi to develop townhouses, single-unit condos or six-plexes.
In his latest request, Tripodi asked to be allowed instead to develop modified four-plex units.
Tripodi told council he wants to meet with residents and the magistrate in an effort to reach an agreement.
Gabriel Marchant, a resident of Shadowridge Villas, said those opposed to the move need council's support to keep Tripodi from making any changes.
"There is nothing to argue about, nothing to change," he said, noting Tripodi agreed to the original judgment 14 years ago.
If no agreement is reached through mediation, the case will be returned to Judge Stuard.

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