The Washington City Council heard five ordinances read at the regular meeting Monday night.
The first would amend the general penalty provision of the city’s Code of Ordinances. The current ordinance states anyone violating a provision of the code that doesn’t already have a specific penalty attached will be subject to a fine up to $2,500. If the amended ordinance is adopted, it would state that, unless the penalty amount is set elsewhere in the Code of Ordinances, the fine for a first offense in a calendar year will be $25. Second and subsequent offenses will be $150.
“It is recommended that warning citations be issued whenever possible to first-time offenders, but this shall be at the discretion of the issuing officer or city official,” the amended ordinance reads. “Citations issued following a warning citation shall be deemed to be for a first offense or second or a subsequent offense.
“The city may choose to seek enhanced civil penalties up to $2,500 for any acts deemed to be especially egregious, or for repeat or chronic offenders.”
Violators not wanting to contest their violation can pay the fine at the city clerk-treasurer’s office. Those wishing to contest their violation can have their case docketed in a Daviess County court.
The ordinance will take effect upon passage by the city council.
The second ordinance read by city attorney Tim Dant would amend the city’s water rates. General metered rates would be $5.28 per 100 cubic feet for the first 1,000 cu. ft.; $4.66 per cu. ft. for the next 9,000; $3.36 per cu. ft. for the next 20,000; $2.04 per cu. ft. for the next 70,000; and $1.32 per cu. ft. over 100,000.
Each user will pay a minimum charge in accordance with the size of meter installed. Those rates are: $26.40 for one-half and five-eights inch meters; $51 for a three-quarter-inch meter; $76.10 for a 1-inch meter; $92.41 for a 1.5-inch meter; $181.65 for a 2-inch meter; $412.41 for a 3-inch meter; $826.34 for a 4-inch meter; and $1,656.85 for a 6-inch meter.
Water supplied for resale will be billed as outlined in current contracts.
Fire protection surcharges would increase.
New rates established by the ordinance would take effect Nov. 14.
There will be a public hearing on both ordinances prior to the next council meeting, Sept. 24.
The final three ordinances read were related to 2013 compensation for officers and employees of the city, fireman and policeman of the city, and elected officials.
In general, Mayor Joe Wellman said, officers and employees will earn 30 cents more per hour, or 1.5 percent if they’re salaried. An additional tier was added on the longevity schedule, as well. A new position was created in the clerk-treasurer’s office; a position was created for a code enforcement officer to be filled next year; and school crossing guard positions were eliminated.
The hourly rate for firefighters and police officers also will increase 30 cents on average, with slight differences dependent upon rank. Standby pay increased $10, and certification pay increased $5. Second- and third-shift differentials were increased 15 cents per hour. The chiefs’ pay increased the same amount as other department heads, Wellman said. Again, an additional tier was added on the longevity schedule.
Council member’s compensation stayed the same, and there was a 1.5-percent increase for two full-time elected officials. Board of Public Works members had a slight increase, according to Wellman.
Councilman Eric Bassler commented that council members are over-compensated, and he made a motion to cut their compensation by half, which he said would save $20,000 a year. He suggested using that money for special projects, such as parks improvement or the firetruck fund — something that would improve quality of life or public safety for residents. There was some discussion, with Councilman Jim Greene suggesting a fund that would assist city employees in crisis situations.
Councilman Joe Fleck said the council has declined raises for several years, and members do a lot of driving to take care of council-related business.
“I think you’re wrong about being over-compensated,” Fleck told Bassler. “You’re not wrong about the need to help.”
The mayor agreed that the council members don’t receive tremendous compensation for being on call for him and their constituents. He said they make “$5,500 and change” annually for their part-time positions.
“It would be a significant change to amend the ordinance, and we’d have to have another first reading,” Wellman added.
He said Oct. 1 is the deadline for setting salary ordinances, and budget appropriations would have to be made to accommodate the change.
“That’d be fine. I think it’s a good cause,” Bassler said, repeating his motion.
Greene seconded the motion. In a roll-call vote, Bassler, Greene and Councilman Jerry Sidebottom voted in favor, and Fleck and Councilmen Brown, Chambers and Singleton were opposed. The motion failed, and all compensation-related ordinances will be read a second time at the next council meeting and will be up for adoption by the council.
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