Fayette moves on utilities, pay increases, mowing, Community Improvement District

Insurance, utilities, attorney resignation, Police Department pay, CID, and mowing were a few of the items covered by Fayette’s City Council, Tuesday, Sept 5.
Caleb Walker, from Walker-Winter Insurance had prepared an insurance renewal for the council’s review.  Walker noted there was not much change in coverage or price.
John Geha, property developer, shared concerns about his utility bill with the council.  On Aug. 11, a meter and utilities were installed for two apartments Geha is building.  The regular building cycle ended on Aug. 18, and Geha was billed $70+ for each unit, the minimum billing for a month of utilities.  Geha requested to have his bill pro-rated as the apartments are not occupied and the utilities were only on for a week.  The council discounted his bill.
Emily Kurtz, CMU student, asked about having her water bill reduced because a pipe had broken while she was out of town and was not caught quickly.  After some questions and discussion, the council determined they needed more information from Kurtz’s landlord who was unable to attend the meeting.  The issue was postponed until next council meeting.
City Attorney Cullen Cline announced his resignation to the City Council.  His resignation will be effective at the end of this month.  Cline has been involved with Fayette Municipal courts off and on for more than 20 years and has held his current position since 2012.
Mayor Kenneth O’Brian re-appointed Bill Quint and Gwen Wilder to the Planning and Zoning Commission.
Almost 30 minutes of the two-hour meeting was spent in discussion of Police Chief Jeff Oswald’s request for a $1 per hour pay increase for Fayette’s Police Department.  Starting pay for Fayette Police Officers is less than $11.50 per hour.  Chief Oswald had a comparison chart for the council listing pay for law enforcement officers from Boonville, New Franklin, Glasgow, Salisbury, Cooper County, and Howard County.  Fayette had the lowest by more than $2 per hour.
Chief Oswald asked for $1 per hour this fiscal year, and $1 per hour for next fiscal year.  The addition of $1 per hour per officer would mean an extra $17,000 per fiscal year, including the added cost of benefits.   (For this year, being three months into the fiscal year, the cost would be closer to $13,000.)
Council members asked how much overtime (OT) was paid out to officers last year and if there was any way to re-examine the schedule to see if there was any way to reduce the number of hours officers worked.  City Administrator Triplett reviewed records and approximately $3,000 of overtime was paid to officers last fiscal year.  However, Police officers do not receive OT pay if they work more than 160 hours in a four week period.  They only receive OT when they have worked more than 171 hours in a four week period.  Chief Oswald stated he would not be comfortable reducing the amount of police coverage for the city.
After much discussion, the council voted unanimously to approve the $1 per hour raise with Alderwoman Stephanie Ford abstaining from the vote.
Logistics for another meeting for the planned Community Improvement District (CID) were reviewed.  The council will be inviting all businesses within the planned district to attend another informational meeting.  The council is concerned that some businesses may still not be aware of the planned district.  This is a courtesy of the council.  Typically, when a CID is established, the city government sets the boundaries and then informs those within the district.
The meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 3 at 6 p.m. in the Community Room at Commercial Trust Company. All downtown businesses are encouraged and recommended to attend. The regularly scheduled council meeting will follow at 7 p.m. in the same location.
City Council members approved the purchase of a boom mower to replace the one that has been out of commission.  The council has been diligently working toward this purchase since February.  One council member noted that citizens may think the council has been dragging their feet, but that the council has been working on this diligently. This has been on the agenda and discussed every meeting.
The next meeting of the Fayette City Council will be Tuesday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. in City Hall.

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