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Green City Council approves city employee raises, gets CARES Act update

Brian Lisik
Suburbanite correspondent

GREEN A pay increase, retroactive to July, 2020, for non-bargaining city employees was approved by Green City Council at its Sept. 8 meeting.

Ward 3 Councilman Rocco Yeargin said the 2.6 percent increase, totaling $66,000, was expected to be approved in July.

“With COVID-19, municipalities had to step back and look at their budgets,” Yeargin said. “Our (overall) budget is down 5.8 percent from this time last year, but we have budgeted very conservatively, so (the salary adjustments) have no negative impact.”

Mayor Gerard Neugebauer clarified that the budget shortfall Yeargin referred to relates to income tax receipts.

“We have received $24 million and anticipated $26 million (but) we are still above budget,” the mayor said. “Plus, with CARES Act (assistance) that we can use for salaries, it is possible that by the end of the year (the city budget) will be as good as was expected (prior to the pandemic).”

Finance Director Steven Schmidt also updated Council on an additional $248,000 in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act assistance Green received from the state of Ohio this month.

“And we are expecting a third round from Ohio of approximately $992,000, for $2.4 million in total, for Sheriff’s Office and Fire Department salaries,” he said.

Mayor’s report

Neugebauer also announced several upcoming community events, including two free fall flu shot clinics.

The first, a senior flu shot clinic will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 10 at the John Torok Community Center, 4224 Massillon Road.

Appointments are required by calling 330-896-6621 and residents must bring insurance cards.

Twisted Wilderfest will be held in person, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 3 at Southgate Park, with masks and proper social distancing required. Neugebauer said that more than 30 venders have confirmed for the event.

The mayor also announced the next Green Together Food Drive, Oct. 5 through Oct. 17, to help restock the Blessings in a Backpack and Green Good Neighbors programs

Drop off at various locations and further details are forthcoming, Neugebauer said.

The city’s Trick or Treat Trail has been renamed “Truck or Treat Trail” and will be held at 3 p.m. Oct. 17 at Springhill Sports Complex, 3749 Fortuna Drive. Neugebauer explained that Truck or Treat Trail has been modified as a drive-through even and admission is a donation of a non-perishable food item.

Citywide Trick-or-Treat night will be held from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Oct. 31, with free masks available to residents.

In other action, council:

• Approved the formation of a committee to review city racial diversity and inclusion policies. The legislation included amendments removing a $20,000 allocation to the committee, granting city council final approval of committee selection, and inviting a Civil Service member to serve on the committee.

• Approved the creation of the position of city communications coordinator

• Authorized Neugebauer to apply for Partners in Watershed Management Project funds through the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District for the Lichtenwalter Rain Garden.

• Approved the allocation of $50,000 from the city’s telecommunications fund for the purchase of livestream equipment to be used primarily to broadcast city and a Green Local Schools’ live events. Yeargin pointed out that the $400,000 telecommunications fund comes from the city’s cable TV rights payments and not the general fund.

• Accepted a $26,000 donation from Toth Buick for a vehicle to be used by the Green Fire Department’s paramedicine program.