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Roanoke OKs 2018 salary ordinance

By Daniel Herda - dherda@h-ponline.com

ROANOKE — The Roanoke Town Council approved salary ordinances as well as an agreement with the Huntington County Economic Development (HCUED) Corporation on Tuesday evening.

The 2018 agreement with HCUED went up from $2,000 to $3,000, according to Huntington County Economic Development Director Mark Wickersham. Wickersham further said it has been five years the percentage was increased. 

“We understand that may not be in the budget, and we don’t want any disagreements about that. We want the price to be affordable for everybody involved. We’ll do the best we can with what we have to work with just like everybody else does,” Wickersham said.

Wickersham also reported the 2017 statistics for the county – with the county adding 12 industrial projects that account for $23 million dollars in capital investments. Those projects range from a $7.5 million investment with Incipio Devices to smaller projects coming to Huntington, like a shop called Nurture’s Soap that offers tools for folks to make their own soap.

In addition to the town approving the 2018 salary ordinances, the board approved a one time 1.5 percent bonus for the town employee who obtained a Community Crossing $600,000 grant. The item came to the board after board president David Tucker made a suggestion to offer bonuses to town employees who obtain grants for the town. Tucker also said the idea of a bonus could be used as an incentive for town employees to seek out additional grants.

Board member John Stoeckley recommended the 1.5 percent. The first percent recommended was three percent. Stoeckley said he thought tagging three percent to a $600,000 grant was too high.

“I don’t have any issues with a bonus, but I think it’s just something we should tread lightly on,” Stoeckley said.

Roanoke Town Clerk-Treasurer Joanne Kirchner said bonuses for grants will not be included in the 2018 salary ordinances and will be looked at on a case-by-case basis.

“They want to look at each grant acquired individually and take action as needed moving forward, but it is not part of the ordinance,” Kirchner said.

The board also approved amending the employee handbook to include 30 days of vacation for a town employee who has served for 35 years. According to the handbook, an employee automatically has five days of vacation upon being hired, then they get 10 days after three years, 15 days after five years, 20 days after 10 years, and 25 days after 25 years. The recommendation came from councilwoman Joan Abbott, who said any employee who works for 35 years deserves the 30 days.

“Those are a lot of years to serve,” Abbott said.

Also, the board accepted a Community Crossings grant of $20,000 to be used towards fixing the town’s bridges. The amount needed totals $63,000 and the town has already raised $25,000 – with the additional funds coming from Bippus State Bank ($2,500) and a trucking company called Stefan DRP Inc. ($2,500).

Supervisor of Operations Phil Hibbert said the town will hopefully reach its goal of $63,000 sometime next year.

“We’re getting there, we’ll see what the new year brings,” Hibbert said.

The Roanoke Town Council will meet again on Dec. 19 at 7 p.m.