Finance meeting heats up

Tayler Thompson

Herald Staff Writer

Barberton City Council reviewed requests for legislation at the July 15 finance meeting. 

The first was to enter into a contract with Julian and Grube Inc. for $38,000 per year to perform annual audits for the city. This is a two-year extension of the current agreement and was passed.

Everyone agreed to two readings of the AFSCME agreement which would approve the agreement between the city of Barberton and AFSCME Local 265. Two readings would result in a final vote at the Sept. 9 meeting. 

The next piece of legislation caused tension, it included ending the cost of living raises withheld from non-bargaining employees. 

Finance Director, Jeremy Flaker, stated this would cost about $13,000-14,000, with another $15,000 if the previously reviewed agreement also passes. He stated this would put them below the minimum fund balance and the only way to fund would be to transfer from income tax. 

He said, “Right now, income tax is doing fine, but we don’t know the status of B&W (Babcock & Wilcox). 

Mayor Bill Judge stated that B&W makes up about 10 percent of the city’s budget so it would make sense to see what happens before making a final decision. They may be leaving Oct. 1.

Councilwoman At-Large Carla Debevec sais that she felt bad about voting yes about the suspension of the raises in the first place. She said,“I believe everybody’s job should be valued equally.” 

Law Director Lisa Miller, asked why they would call for the AFSCME agreement if they want to see what happens with B&W?  She said it was inconsistent and they should vote on this and AFSCME at the same time. She shouted, “If October is the concern for everyone, you shouldn’t call for AFSCME!” 

They already made the decision for two readings and it’s set to be voted on in September unless they are able to postpone. Council members decided to have three readings of this ordinance.

The final piece was for gym reimbursements for non-bargaining employees which has been tabled until more details are given.

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