Niles approves raises for firefighters
NILES — In a special meeting Wednesday, city council approved an agreement that sets up a pay increase schedule for the city’s 36 firefighters.
Firefighters will receive a 3 percent pay increase next year, followed by a 2.5 percent increase the following year and a 1 percent increase in the third year. They also will receive a 48-cent roll-in to their base wage in exchange for giving up yearly $600 firefighter 2 and $400 first-responder stipends to maintain certifications. Mayor Steve Mientkiewicz said the 48 cents equates to roughly the same $1,000.
Firefighters will contribute 7 percent to health care next year and 10 percent the following year, which Mientkiewicz said is the same amount as other city unions. The agreement will be effective Jan. 1, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2022.
Also passed at the meeting was an agreement with the newly re-established Community Improvement Corporation.
Council members previously have expressed support for the CIC, which will aim to bring economic growth to the downtown “footprint” that stretches up Robbins Avenue.
Though the CIC agreement outlines a requested dollar amount of $50,000, Mientkiewicz said the number is not binding and may be higher or lower depending on budgeting for fiscal year 2020. “It just depends on how the budget shakes out,” Mientkiewicz said. He said the funds for economic development will likely come out of the general fund.
Mientkiewicz previously said the CIC’s goals include property retention, taking on new property, marketing new property, potentially offering loan programs for improvement to building facades and signage, and providing incentives for business.
In other business, council:
• Approved a $7,375 agreement, effective Jan. 1, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2020, for indigent legal services through the Trumbull County commissioners. Mientkiewicz said this is a yearly agreement. It underwent a first reading because there must be six council members present to immediately pass legislation and there were only five;
• Approved requiring properties outside the municipality using city utilities to annex into the city. The change would affect properties using sewer, water and electricity to annex into the city unless the city excuses said properties. Properties that remain outside the corporate limits will enter into a development incentive agreement;
• Approved a then-and-now payment of $7,413 to R & J Truck & Auto Body for emergency repairs to a fire department truck and had first reading for transfers for the accompanying insurance claim;
• Approved transferring money from an insurance claim for repairs to cemetery department trucks. Catalytic converters were stolen off the trucks in September;
• Approved the downtown business incentive program, which will give small businesses coming into the downtown footprint a 25 percent reduction in their first year electric rates, based on the city’s A / B rates for commercial business customers, and then 20, 15, 10, and 5 percent reductions in the subsequent years. Businesses will pay full rates in the sixth year and after.