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Council to pursue levy



Published: Fri, August 4, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



The revenue would not be used for salaries, officials said.

By NANCY TULLIS

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

CAMPBELL -- City officials have three months to persuade residents to pay more taxes so the city has money to fix streets and storm drains.

Council voted Thursday to put a five-year, 3-mill levy on the Nov. 7 general election ballot that would generate $250,000 a year.

Council President William VanSuch said the levy revenue can only be used for the specific purpose of improving city streets and catch basins, the storm drain openings along curbs that frequently clog during heavy rains.

"I have lived here all my life and worked for the city for 26 years in one way or another," VanSuch said. "I truly believe that if you are honest with people here, they will trust you. If we can convince them the money can only be used for the streets, they'll pass the levy."

VanSuch said no road repairs have been made for at least six years. He said proceeds collected from vehicle license fees goes to pay back a loan city officials got for road improvements several years ago, so there hasn't been any money available for current improvements.

He said if voters pass the levy, the $250,000 collected each year would be enough to make significant improvements citywide by the end of the five years. He said there are many areas where catch basins clog during heavy rain and streets then flood because there is no place for the storm runoff to go.

Court dispute

He emphasized the tax revenue cannot be used for salaries or any other purpose because some officials worry that a recent pay raise given municipal court employees by Judge Patrick P. Cunning could hurt the chances of the levy passing.

A journal entry by Judge Cunning on June 30 ordered 9- and 10-percent raises, respectively, for Mary Helen Muntean, clerk of court; and Christine Maker, bailiff and deputy clerk.

In addition, Jean A. Darkadakis, computer clerk and deputy clerk, was promoted from part time, working 19 hours a week at $12 per hour, to full-time status, with an annual wage of $20,080. She also now receives health insurance, which is $1,231.75 per month for family coverage.

Full-time status is accompanied by additional costs to the city, such as contributions to the Public Employees Retirement System and paid vacations and holidays.

Judge Cunning has said he understands the city is under financial duress, but the city and the court are separate entities. He said he granted the raises because they are deserved and because there is money available in various funds to cover the additional cost. He noted Darkadakis will be paid out of the computer fund, which he said has a $50,000 balance.




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