Newton Falls council OKs pay raises of 1%

NEWTON FALLS — The fiscal officer reported Wednesday the village is “fiscally sound” and council later approved a 1 percent pay increase for all full- and part-time employees effective with the first pay cycle dated Feb. 9.

Village officials said they determined the employees should receive a cost of living adjustment, which was on the council agenda prior to the meeting. Finance Director Anna Musson said the increase for the 41 full-time employees and 25 part-time employees of various departments will cost the village $25,000.

Musson said in 2019, the village saw an 8 percent increase in income tax collections with a carryover of $609,000 in the general fund from last year.

“We are fiscally sound in all of our funds,” she said, noting efforts were made to make sure people paid their taxes.

In other business, Village Manager David Lynch reported the village will be seeking a firm to create a master plan for operations and improvements at the parks.

“Our parks are OK, but they can always be better. We want to have a plan to help guide us to upgrade our parks and where to most effectively spend our money for having A-plus parks,” he said.

Lynch said preparation of the plan by a selected firm could cost between $15,000 and $25,000. The plan would be reviewed by the park board, planning commission and village council.

Second Ward Councilman John Baryak questioned spending the money for the firm to create a plan when Youngstown State University already is working with the village in applying for grants.

“Why spend the money when our parks and recreation people can give us ideas? We don’t need people to come from the outside. We need to spend tax dollars wisely,” he said.

Councilman-at-Large Tarry Alberini said through his work, he travels to many communities and has seen their parks.

“I am all for getting another set of eyes to see ways to improve our parks. The money spent will be an investment in our community,” he said.

Baryak said he was concerned parks will close, but Lynch said there is no plan to close parks but a master plan may make recommendations on the best way to have different parks in the community.

Lynch said grant money could be used for recreational equipment and support staff for the parks.