Saturday, December 9, 2023

Moundsville Council Approves Pay Raises

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Moundsville Mayor Sara Wood-Shaw talks during a regular City Council meeting on Tuesday during which members approved a $15.1 million budget for fiscal 2023-24.

MOUNDSVILLE – Moundsville City Council on Tuesday approved additional pay raises for its police, fire and street and sanitation department workers, in addition to a recently approved 5% pay increase.

Police officers will receive an additional $2.45 per hour raise, and firefighters and street and sanitation workers both will receive an additional $1 per hour raise.

After the meeting, Moundsville Police Department Chief Tom Mitchell believes the pay increase will help attract new officers to the department.

“I hope it will,” Mitchell said, adding the increase brings his department in line with what other local departments are paying officers.

He said the starting wage for a new officer in Moundsville is $52,000 per year, but the city also has a better benefits package than many other departments.

photo by: Photo by Shelley Hanson

Work continues on the new Moundsville Municipal and Safety Building, shown here on Tuesday evening.

Mitchell was praised during the meeting for his idea to start the new employee retention committee, which met recently.

Both the police and fire departments are hiring. The city also has open positions for lifeguards and in the public works department.

The council also unanimously approved a $15.1 million budget for fiscal year 2023-24. No one spoke during a public hearing regarding the budget before it was passed. The budget is balanced with both revenues and expenditures estimated at $15,108,106. The new fiscal year begins July 1 and ends June 30, 2024.

Some of city’s largest sources of revenue include Business and Occupation Tax revenues at $2.750 million and sales tax proceeds at $2.2 million, along with property taxes at $1.02 million and refuse collection fees at $1,421,500.

One of the city’s largest expenditures include the General Goverment at $3,731,207, which includes City Hall, Public Works, Public Grounds and more.

The city’s Public Safety expenditures total $3,696,062, which includes the police and fire departments, emergency services, communication/central dispatch and more.

The Street and Transportation Department expenditure is estimated at $2,951,835, along with Health and Sanitation at $1,575,420.

The Culture and Recreation expenditure is anticipated to be $1,365,151, which includes Parks and Recreation, Visitors Bureau, swimming pool, arts and humanities and more.

In other business, in a 4-2 decision council approved increasing the water reconnection fee from $25 to $50. Before the vote was taken, Councilwoman Ginger DeWitt said she believed $50 was too high especially for an individual or family who is struggling to keep their water on. She believed $35 would be better; however, no related action was taken.

“It’s going to cause a lot of hardship on families and adults and kids,” DeWitt said.

Councilman Eugene Saunders said he agreed with DeWitt.

Voting in favor of the increase was Mayor Sara Wood-Shaw, Vice Mayor David Wood and Council members Brianna Hickmann and Randy Chamberlain. Voting against the increase was DeWitt and Saunders. Councilwoman Judy Hunt was absent.

Meanwhile, council also approved increasing the water tap fee from $330 to $750. The reason for the increase was to help the water department recoup the money and labor costs associated with installing a new water tap. City Manager Rick Healy noted it would help, but still cover the entire amount as the water board says it costs about $1,100 to install a tap.

Also, the city plans to start new informal listening sessions to allow residents to get to know their council members better outside of meetings. The first one is slated from 5-7:30 p.m. April 25 at the Riverfront Park shelter. Council members will be seated at different tables and residents can talk with them and ask questions. City Attorney Thomas White said council members will not be permitted to make any decisions or commitments regarding city matters, which is the business conducted at a regular council meeting.

In other matters, Healy noted work to repaint the Four Seasons Pool is complete and it will reopen to the public for swimming on Thursday.

“It looks phenomenal,” he said.

Also, regarding coming Oak Avenue address changes, Healy said letters from the city regarding this matter would soon be going out to residents impacted.

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