Rossford voters will be asked to approve pay raises for their city council members and mayor on Nov. 6 through a pair of proposed city charter amendments. Council unanimously approved the ballot requests at its regular meeting last week, after months of discussion and indecision over the sensitive issue.
One of the proposed charter amendments would raise council members’ pay so they could continue to earn full credit for a state pension, and the other would increase the mayor’s salary. Council gave the measures three readings before the vote.
Mayor Neil MacKinnon has supported the raises for Rossford’s council members, who are among the lowest paid in the area, but this month asked that his office not be included in the requests for pay hikes. He said he did not feel he deserved a raise, having been in office fewer than 18 months, and said he did not seek election for the salary.
Before the vote last week, Council President Larry Oberdorf asked the mayor to reconsider his position on pay, saying the raise request was not about tenure. “It’s about the office of mayor,” Mr. Oberdorf said.
Councilman Mike Scott agreed, saying the proposed change was not meant to be “a reflection” on Mr. MacKinnon. Absent a raise, he said, the mayoral salary would be less than council’s if the increase for the latter is approved.
“We’re all in this together, Mr. Mayor,” he said.
Council Member Caroline Eckel said avoiding action on the mayor’s salary would leave the issue to another council.
Council members are paid $250 per month, and its president, $275. The stipend has not changed since 1993.
The charter change would increase the council salary to $700 per month so members could continue to accrue full credit in the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System. The mayoral salary would go up from $625 per month to $1,500.
The issue of a pay raise for council has been under discussion since last year. OPERS increased the minimum pay for full pension credit to $600 per month. The new rule takes effect Jan. 1.
A survey showed that Rossford council members were the area’s second-lowest paid.
Only Ottawa Hills council members, who receive $120 annually, are paid less.
In other business, council accepted a $7,315 grant from the Wood County Park District to buy playground equipment at Beech Street Park and adopted an ordinance repealing the chapter of the municipal code dealing with the sanitary landfill because the landfill is closed.
Fire Chief Jim Verbosky told council members that his department wanted to host the Northwest Ohio Volunteer Firefighters Association convention in 2015. Rossford firefighters last hosted the gathering in 2007.
— Carl Ryan