WELLSVILLE - Buckeye Water District employees received an early Christmas present Thursday when the district board of trustees approved across-the-board salary increases.
Following an executive session for personnel compensation, the board returned to vote unanimously in favor of a 4 percent increase for 14 full-time employees and one part-time employee, although they won't go into effect until Jan. 1 next year.
The personnel committee recommended the raise, with Chairman Terry O'Hara pointing out this is only the second increase employees have seen in eight years, saying, "We feel it's justified."
After the meeting, fiscal officer Tony D'Angelo said the raise will cost the district an additional $26,000 annually, which includes the cost of health and retirement benefits.
D'Angelo also figured in personnel issues Thursday, with the board voting on a new two-year contract for him which solicitor Fred Emmerling prepared.
He told the board that D'Angelo's contract is "a little different than the other" employees' contract inasmuch as his is the one part-time position in the district, calling for him to work no more than 24 hours per week.
With his 4 percent increase, D'Angelo said his annual salary is $30,000, and he is not afforded any benefits.
During the treasurer's report, budget committee Chairman Bob Wines told the board the district's debt service for 2014 is covered, and board member Cal Carney offered his praise for D'Angelo and the budget committee for doing "a hell of a job" on the financial report, noting, "It's the only one I've ever read that I understand," and commending them for the district's financial position, saying, "We're right where we're supposed to be."
Wines gave credit to D'Angelo, while district Manager Al DeAngelis credited employees for keeping their overtime costs down.
During his report, DeAngelis reiterated information shared at a previous meeting that a new insurance carrier, Medical Mutual of Ohio, has been secured for employees and that the district will save about $50,000 per year with the new policy in place.
The district learned Wednesday that the Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) has granted permission to use remaining grant funding earmarked for a water line on Duke Vodrey Road to extend the line an additional 1,500 feet to service a second trailer court on the road.
The original project cost was about $200,000, and the district had secured about $300,000 in funding from the OPWC and a Community Development Block Grant.
During a recent meeting, the engineering committee had agreed to proceed with the extension providing the OPWC allowed the remaining grant funds to be used.
Even with that funding approved, the district will have to pay about $10,000 toward the cost from the general fund, according to President Mike Ryan.
DeAngelis reported that pressure testing is currently under way on the initial portion of the water line, with leak detection equipment expected to be used after one section appeared to be losing pressure. Once the anticipated leak is located, DeAngelis said the extension will begin.