Most council members support returning hourly workers to full hours and pay sooner rather than later.
Tiffin City Council met as a Committee of the Whole Monday evening to discuss a request from Mayor Jim Boroff from the last council meeting to restore five hours per pay period to hourly employees by the first pay period in July. Hourly and salary employees took pay cuts in May 2009.
Boroff said the general fund expense is about $26,000, which would be covered by income tax increases and $60,000-$70,000 in unused income tax refunds set aside at the beginning of the year.
"What this does is it levels the playing field," he said. "Admittedly, we know there are going to be other things coming down the pipe (in terms of cuts), but we should do the honorable thing and we had a covenant with our employees. We need to get them back to the level playing field, so when we make adjustments from this point forward, we're all playing the same."
Boroff said the cuts have saved the city more than $300,000.
Boroff also asked that salaried employees return to full wages, but suggested making the increase in September. An increase for salaried employees is to cost the general fund about $10,000.
A motion to have the request prepared as legislation was approved by council members Mark Hayes, Steve Lepard, Lori Ritzler and Tyler Shuff.
Hayes said Finance Director Gwynn Reinhart's last financial statement showed 2011 collections were ahead of 2010 collections by almost $250,000.
Ritzler said she supported the return in pay as the amount being requested would not "make or break" the budget.
Rich Cline, Pete Gallipeau and Aaron Montz voted against the motion, each saying it is premature.
"The hourly employees, they have worked their tails off, they have probably worked harder than they had to in the past because we're at reduced levels," Montz said. "What I'm concerned about is the long term, just the money that we could save by not restoring this in a few months could potentially save next year one or two positions that we wouldn't have to cut. ... Why can't we just wait a few more weeks to see where this state budget comes out?"
"I think we made the cuts after painful deliberations about whether it was the right thing to do," Gallipeau said. "I'm not sure that I've seen a trend in the opposite direction as far as the financial well-being of the city, to be in a position to do what the mayor is asking for, quite yet. ...
"I'd also prefer, maybe five months down the line, we do see a trend, and by that time we do see a new mayor elected who maybe wants to do things differently the next four years, and I think that new mayor should be involved with their new employees."
Hayes responded, saying he did not want to see a "lame duck council" for the duration of the year.
After the meeting, Boroff said he was grateful.
he said. "(Council) sometimes loses sight that the city is service-oriented, and if you want them to do the best for you, you need to keep your promises."
Law Director Brent Howard is to prepare the legislation as a budget change.