(Posted Nov. 27, 2019)
By Andrew Garrett, Staff Writer
Some employees of the city of London gained an increase to their potential earnings, thanks to legislation passed by city council on Nov. 21.
Council unanimously adopted an ordinance that sets new pay ranges for employees of the parks and recreation department. Council member Rex Castle was absent.
The new hourly pay ranges are as follows: park and pool maintenance worker, $11-$25; recreation assistant, $11-$25; clerk, $9-$14; and lifeguard, $9.45-$15.
Council member Henry Comer asked city administrators and his fellow council members if anyone had done comparison research on the pay ranges.
Joe Mosier, London’s safety service director, said the ranges were comparable to municipalities of similar size to London. He said the cap for lifeguards might be a little higher but that it was necessary because lifeguards are “hard to get.” He also reminded council that the department was small and many of its positions are seasonal.
In new business, council heard the first reading of legislation that, if passed, would set new salary ranges for city department heads and non-union personnel. Topping the list of potential earners is the position of safety service director, which can make as much as $96,014, followed by the police and fire chiefs with a maximum earning potential of $94,336 each.
Council member Andy Hitt, who sponsored the ordinance, said the new ranges will make the positions more competitive and desirable.
London resident Doug Pyles, addressed council regarding the city’s new water plant and its accompanying well that is unusable due to high levels of ammonia.
City leaders are well aware of the situation, said Mayor Patrick Closser.
“This is the worst $7 million paperweight,” Closser said, referring to the plant which is located on East High Street.
Pyles exhorted council to find a solution for removing, or at least diluting, the level of ammonia in the water at the site. He suggested constructing a waterfall to aerate the water, as ammonia is readily removed from water when in contact with air, he said. Another possibility, he said, would be to pump water from an older well into the new well to dilute that water to an ammonia level acceptable to the Environmental Protection Agency. Pyles said his suggestions were inspired by a simple internet search.
Closser thanked Pyles for his concern and research, but said he believed it was something best for engineers to figure out.
Council President Joe Russell also thanked Pyles for his interest and suggestions but agreed with the mayor that the course taken must be well thought out.
“The last thing we want to do is put more money into this project and then still not be able to get it operational,” Russell said.