City council members and city administrators will see an increase in pay next year for the first time in 11 years, following council action at a special meeting held Aug. 3.
Raises will be give to council members, council president, mayor, safety service director, the law director and auditor. Only media was in attendance at the meeting, and the raises were passed with no objection. Council's salaries will be brought up to the pre-fiscal emergency level of $4,606.27 per year from $3,000 per year.
Calling the raises ''long overdue,'' council President Reynald Paolone said, ''When the city went into fiscal emergency eight years ago, council voted to cut its pay to the minimum where we could get PERS. It is about $3,000 a year.
"We never thought about a raise since then," Paolone said. "We were in a lot of trouble. It totaled almost $13,000 a year, which was, at the time, almost half of a firefighter's salary."
Included in the vote is a pay raise for council president to $4,927.64. Also receiving raises for the first time in 11 years will be members of the city's administration.
The increased the salary of the safety-service director will be $51,090; the mayor will make $45,760; the law director will be brought up to either $30,529.12 with benefits or $36,630 without benefits; and the auditor to $41,080.
The administration's increases average 6 percent, which is the same percentage raise that the unions were given over the 11 years, Paolone said.
Councilman Brian Kren abstained from the vote for the law director raise. Kren is running for the law director position in November's election.
Paolone said council decided to increase the salaries of the next council and administration only after it was determined that the city is expected to be out of fiscal emergency in 2012. Discussions about the increases began in July after council's finance chairman Frank J. Migliozzi informed the council that the city was expected to have a surplus next year. Beginning in 2012, members of the administration will have to contribute to their health care co-pay.
If council waited until the city emerged from fiscal emergency to vote for the raises, the next council would have been banned by Ohio law from approving raises for themselves. Ohio law prohibits elected officials from approving raises for their positions during the term they are serving.
The city has a five-year plan to keep itself out of fiscal emergency, according to Migliozzi. The plan includes a combination of increases in revenues and expenditure reductions, he said. Officials will continue to work to revise the five-year plan this summer.
In addition to spending $240,000 less than expected last year, the city is $500,000 ahead in normal tax collection than last year, Migliozzi said. Those figures do not include revenues from the expansion of V&M Star.