City employees get raise; council also discusses JEDZ, projects and pit bulls

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By Dustin Ensinger
Staff Writer

Non-unionized employees of the city of Reynoldsburg will receive their first pay hike in three years.

Reynoldsburg City Council approved a 3 percent cost-of-living increase for non-bargaining unit employees.

“They deserve it,” Councilman Mel Clemens said.

The salary increase affects about 60 employees and funding for the increase expenditure is included in a budget passed in February.

Clemens said the wage increase was a matter of fairness, given that unionized employees have seen their paychecks grow in recent years.

“You can’t give half your employees increases and penalize your other employees,” he said.

Clemens said he hopes the city can boost its revenue so it can afford to provide its employees with pay increases on a more regular basis.

Joint Economic Development Zone

City leaders could make a move to increase revenue.

Council has scheduled a special meeting on May 5 following their regularly scheduled committee meetings to discuss the proposed creation of a Joint Economic Development Zone (JEDZ) with Etna Township.

Under Ohio law, townships are not allowed to levy an income tax on residents. However, townships can partner with municipalities to create a JEDZ in which workers inside the specified are would be subject to an income tax.

The municipality – in this case Reynoldsburg – is paid a portion of the collections to administer the tax.

The creation of a JEDZ requires the approval of the voters in both the township and municipality.

Ward I projects

Councilman Scott Barrett said several projects in the portion of the city he represents are moving forward.

He said he is working with administration officials to implement a sidewalk improvement project and expects to see legislation on the matter soon.

Barrett said code enforcement has been made another priority in the ward, but has proven to be a challenge.

“Our ward still battles a lot of neighbors that just don’t comply with the city’s codes,” he said.

Barrett is working on legislation to address the issues. He said he is also working with the police department to reduce speeding in certain neighborhoods and trying to find a solution to the amount of marketing materials in the area. He said canvassing materials often turn to junk because it is not secure or because of weather conditions.

“It turns them from marketing materials into trash very quickly,” he said, adding stopping the issue is “not as easy as it looks.”

Pit bull debate continues

In the wake of a dog attack in the Hilltop neighborhood on Columbus’ west side that reportedly resulted in a 10-year-old boys’ ear being torn off, pit bull activist Lori Schwartzkopf told council that if they change the city’s law banning pit bulls and implement something similar to the state law, the three dogs involved in the attack would be considered vicious. The dogs were reportedly pit bulls.

“We think this makes a lot more sense than rounding up dogs that have done nothing,” she said.

An ad hoc committee was formed to examine the city’s current law and is expected to report back to council next month.

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