Weirton council backs union salary changes

WEIRTON — City Council on Monday approved the first reading of a salary adjustment for a new contract with one of the city’s unions, while also amending the current fiscal year’s budget and agreeing to a series of purchases for the Weirton Fire Department.

Council unanimously approved the new salary rates for the Weirton Municipal Employee’s Union. While no comments were made during Monday’s meeting, City Manager Travis Blosser noted during a recent finance committee meeting that most of the contract negotiations have been focused on the pay scale and procedures for overtime callouts.

“We wanted something in writing,” Blosser explained of the overtime regulations, which will be based on seniority.

The pay rate ordinance will require two readings to go into effect, and the contract will be in effect until June 30, 2019.

The budget revisions, which passed 6-0, included a reduction of expected revenue from the city’s hotel tax by $60,000 to approximately $180,000 for the year.

“We’ve been taking a ride on this for a while,” Blosser explained last week.

The city will be adjusting the amount it expects to receive in state grants and increase funding to the fire department’s pension funds as part of efforts to pay off the unfunded liability by 2040.

Ward 4 Councilman George Ash noted there would be $54,312 removed from the garbage fund, and placed into the budget’s contingency, but explained the money still would be limited for use in garbage collection operations.

“It will be in a sub-contingency for garbage only,” Ash said.

Among the purchases for the fire department are 14 new sets of protective firefighting gear, including jackets, trousers and boots at a cost of $35,000, and the purchase of a new squad truck at a cost of $174,800.

At a total cost of $173,755, council approved the purchase of new Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus for the fire department. Of the funding allotment, officials have said only $9,000 will come from city coffers. The remainder will be provided through a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant.

The purchase of approximately 400 feet of chain link fencing, at a cost of $12,694, to be installed at the fire department’s new training center, was approved.

In other business, council convened into an executive session for 20 minutes to discuss the pending appointment of a new Ward 2 councilman, following December’s resignation of Chuck Wright, who had been elected as Hancock County circuit clerk.

(Howell can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT.)

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