Struthers City Council approves raises, mulls senior van options

Published: Sun, April 27, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.



Nonclassified, full-time city employees received 2 percent increases to their base salaries, retroactive to Jan. 1, thanks to city council’s approval of the raises.

Before then, the last time these department heads and clerical workers had received raises was 2008, said Mayor Terry Stocker. Council approved the raises at its meeting last week.

“It’s been a long time,” Stocker said. “Obviously, we wanted to try to do something for them ... and we were able to give very modest raises to the employees for all the good work they’ve done.”

Those employees receiving raises are the clerk of council, mayor’s and police chief’s secretaries, tax commissioner, police and fire chiefs, safety service director, building custodian, sewage plant superintendent, assistant sewage plant superintendent and street foreman.

Raises for these 11 employees will cost Struthers an additional $9,200 per year, said Auditor Christina Bohl. She added that other full-time city employees receiving raises are four street department workers; these raises will cost the city $3,105 extra per year.

Bohl noted that the 2-percent base salary increases are “in line with what everyone else got” — members of the city’s police and sewage departments, and court employees, for example — earlier this year.

Council voted to grant roughly 2 percent raises to several hourly, part-time employees as well, though this increase will take effect Thursday.

In addition, city officials continued to discuss the fate of the senior-citizen transportation service, which has been on hiatus since mid-March after the van was deemed not roadworthy.

Stocker said he’d contacted Western Reserve Transit Authority about unused vehicles, and WRTA officials have estimated a used vehicle suitable for the city’s needs would cost about $15,000.

Stocker explained that both he and members of council have decided to wait to act until July, when they’ll learn whether the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Specialized Transportation Program will mostly fund the purchase of a new senior van. The city will need to contribute 20 percent of the cost, and has budgeted $23,000 — $10,000 for van operations, and $13,000 for the matching grant funds — this year for the service.

But even if the city is selected to receive the grant, it likely won’t receive the van for several months. Stocker said he spoke with Lowellville Mayor James Iudiciani Sr. about the city’s possibly using Lowellville’s senior van a couple of days a week as a temporary solution.

“We really appreciate his reaching out to the community,” Stocker said. “We would do the same.”

Stocker also announced the city’s annual cleanup day, which is May 10 at Mauthe Park, 156 Smithfield St. Volunteers will meet at 8 a.m. to clean up predetermined areas of the city, as well as to plant flowers at the city’s entrance signs and at Mauthe Park.

T-shirts, gloves and trash bags will be provided. Interested volunteers should call Shirley Sepesy, the city’s litter control and recycling coordinator, at 330-755-2181, ext. 138.

Stocker added that the city is working to address recent vandalism done to Mauthe Park, and in particular to a brick wall that is now covered with graffiti. Two juveniles have been identified as the culprits.

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