By Dustin Ensinger
Two sorely needed projects will not be included in the city of Reynoldsburg’s 2015 budget, according to Mayor Brad McCloud.
Neither repairs to Pine Quarry Park nor the demolition of the Velar House, that sits near the park, will make the cut for the city’s spending outline for next year.
“We can do certain things,” McCloud said. “But we can’t do everything.”
The park has several bridges that need replaced.
“They are not repairable,” McCloud said.
The home in front of the park is in disrepair with water in the basement and other issues.
“I keep hoping it’ll fall down,” McCloud joked.
The building was purchased more than a decade ago with the intention it would be torn down to make way for a parking lot and an access road into the park, according to City Auditor Richard Harris.
“It needs to come down, as was the original plan,” Harris said.
City officials hope to pass a 2015 operating budget by the end of December after operating on an interim budget for nearly the first three months of 2014.
The budget ultimately approved by council called for $14.3 million in spending.
City officials will not have to figure out how to budget for a large increase in health and dental insurance for the city’s work force.
McCloud said the costs in 2015 will be virtually unchanged from the rate the city currently pays.
“Good news on the medical front,” he said.
Increased work in mayor’s court
As the docket in mayor’s court continues to increase, it has created a greater workload for employees, whom McCloud hopes to reward for their efforts.
McCloud asked council to increase the clerk’s hours to 40 per week, up from the 30 now worked.
“This additional 10 hours per week would address the additional workloads,” McCloud said.
The number of cases heard in the court were up 60 percent in 2013 from 2012, according to McCloud, which has lead to an increase in paperwork filed by the Reynoldsburg Police Department.
However, the city has had difficulty keeping clerks in the police department. McCloud said the highest level salary available for a clerk in the department is lower than the bottom of the pay scale for similar positions in nearby municipalities.
Police Chief Jim O’Neill said when employees leave the clerk positions for other municipalities, it sometimes leads to police officials handling the paperwork, which is more costly for the city, especially if an officer is working on overtime.
“We can get help,” O’Neill said. “We can’t keep it.”
Both measures had their first reading by the finance committee and will be passed on to council.
Councilman Mel Clemens took the discussion a step further saying the city needs to hire an outside firm to study the pay scale of all its employees.
“We know that everybody is underpaid,” he said.
McCloud said he would look into the possibility of such a study.