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Twinsburg -- The city's 28 non-union employees will see 3 percent pay raises when the 2013 salary ordinance is passed, and two city officials say the city can afford both the extra pay and a repeal of the quarter-percent income tax hike.
Council addressed the 2013 salary ordinance Jan. 22, which would, if passed, cost the city roughly $70,000 in increased personnel payouts, according to Human Resources Director Clayton Morris. The ordinance will go before Council again Feb. 5.
"There's a 3 percent increase across the board for full-time and part-time [employees]," Morris said. "The 28 non-bargaining union employees make up a cost [to the city] after the employer's tax of $70,620 roughly. That's after we factor in pension and tax and everything."
Mayor Katherine Procop would remain the highest-paid city employee, with a salary of $97,105, up from $92,277 in 2012. Police Chief Chris Noga, who made $90,161 in 2012, will make about $92,865 under the new salary ordinance. Fire Chief Richard Racine, who made $89,397 in 2012, will make $92,079 in 2013.
Additionally, building commissioner Russ Rodic will see an increase of more than $2,000, going from $72,727 in 2012 to $74,909 in 2013. Twinsburg Fitness Center manager T.L. Thogmartin with the Parks and Recreation Department will also see a pay range increase of around $2,000, going from $62,013 in 2012 to about $63,873 in 2013.
Boards and commissions members will still receive $25 per meeting under the ordinance, except members of the GlenEagles Advisory Board, who volunteer their time. Chairpersons will continue to receive $35 per meeting.
Aside from the chiefs and department heads, employees of the police, fire, parks and recreation and service departments are unionized and have their salaries negotiated separately from the salary ordinance.
Councilor Bob McDermott said the raises in the upcoming salary ordinance are meant to keep non-union pay consistent with what union members make.
"We try to keep them consistent with what the union gets in terms of salary increases," McDermott said.
McDermott added that the 3 percent raise is fair and that the .25 percent income tax increase, put in place in 2009, is no longer necessary. The 3-percent raise is manageable, McDermott said, given the city's fiscal health. A repeal of the quarter-percent income tax increase is scheduled to be placed on the November ballot.
"If we give back the quarter percent, we're still going to be better than we were five years ago," McDermott said. "We're not running out of money. I think that the .25 percent should be rolled back. No question about it. We promised people that if we didn't need it, we wouldn't continue it."
Councilor Gary Sorace also said the city is in shape to repeal the .25 percent tax increase and afford raises like the upcoming 3 percent.
"In my opinion, we'll still do away with the .25 percent income tax and I think we'll be OK as we continue to grow," Sorace said. "There's some talk about replacing it possibly with a smaller percentage income tax [increase] but it's premature right now. I think, from looking at the numbers, we're in good enough shape to get our employees rewarded for what they've been doing the last several years and still eliminate the tax [increase]."
This year's salary ordinance raise follows a similar 3 percent raise for the city's non-union employees in March 2012, which also increased maximum pay ranges by 6 percent.
Councilor Bill Furey said he found the across-the-board raise to be a reasonable expense for the city.
"We had people in freezes for a couple of years when things were really tight," Furey said. "I think it's reasonable to have all the employees near the same increases. It's all uniform. There's nothing that stands out, I think it's a fair agreement."