Continuing talks: Cridersville discusses budget, overtime issues

CRIDERSVILLE — Officials with a local village continue to discuss employee salaries, focusing primarily on overtime pay.

On Monday, Cridersville Village Council members hit a road block when they struggled to make a motion to pay necessary bills for May.

“When we pay bills does this OK wages for employees?” Councilor Rick Walls said when Council President Eric West asked for a motion to pass this.

“The pay package ordinance was a done deal and approved at the beginning of the year,” Village Solicitor Jim Hearn said.

Mayor Lorali Myers was absent from Monday’s meeting.

Councilor Stacey Myers Cook said she still had concerns with overtime of village employees and wanted to motion a statement concerning that while approving to pay necessary bills for the month.

“I motion to pay the day-to-day operations with a notation that there are still concerns with the overtime budget,” Myers Cook said.

Walls seconded this motion, which passed with a 4-2 vote.

This opened the floor to further discussion.

“I want to reiterate that my concerns are for the budget overall,” Myers Cook said.

Myers Cook came across 2012 financial figures, and she was concerned that the money going out is more than the money the village is receiving.

She was concerned the estimated carryover may eventually run out in upcoming years and was concerned how long this could keep going. Each budget in the village is estimated in a way that permits extra revenue for potential sudden emergencies.

“The funds that have a balance always have a balance to carryover,” Village Clerk-Treasurer Candace Stevely said.

Worksheets are projected at the beginning of year to propose a budget.

West noted no department has spent the entire amount allocated during his time on council.

West noted that the budget has drastically reduced over the last five years, as councilors make changes and cuts.

With further changes and cuts to be considered, West set a Finance Committee meeting for 7:30 p.m. on May 31, to discuss the pay package, along with a discussion about the proper protocol for councilors to obtain a summary of village employees and their hours worked each month.

“We are going to look at the pay package,” West said. “This is something we do every summer and evaluate.”

Before the meeting was adjourned Monday, residents had the opportunity to address council, and the idea of forming a committee was addressed as this committee would work to investigate certain issues that have arose in the village.

Councilor Tony Zuppardo noted that he would like to know why there is a large turnover of police officers, how these officers are assigned and why they left the village to continue their career elsewhere.

It was recommended by a resident that councilors need to sit down and meet with members of the Cridersville Police Department. It was noted by Hearn that this could be done through a Safety Committee meeting to address the issues that Zuppardo mentioned.

Communication is key, and Fire Chief Ron Mertz said that the ultimate idea is for each committee in the village to talk it out and check and balance each other on every issue that comes up in the village.    

Councilor Shirley Anderson, along with another resident who spoke out during the meeting, noted that they thought this meeting was going better than the previous Committee-of-the-Whole meeting, because they thought people had been bullying at the previous meeting, and they wanted to bring the focus back to working on what is best and factual for the community.