Collective bargaining agreement passes

TIPP CITY — Tipp City Council approved a resolution authorizing city manager Tim Egglestion to enter into a collective bargaining agreement with the Tipp City police officers and sergeants on behalf of the city.

In addition to the agreement being entered with Tipp City police officers and sergeants, it will include the Fraternal Order of Police and Ohio Labor Council, Inc. and deal with matters covering wages, hours, terms and other conditions of employment with the city. The agreement is for a three-year period beginning April 21, 2021, and ending April 20, 2024. According to Eggleston, changes with the agreement include reducing vacation payout for future hires, increasing officer-in-charge pay from $1.50 per hour to $2 per hour, increasing employee wages over the next three years by 2.5 percent the first year and 3 percent the following two years, and adding a provision where the probationary period for academy officers does not begin until they graduate and come into the department.

Council member Kathryn Huffman asked what the effect was in terms of cost; while there was no specific dollar figure to give, Eggleston said that they’re trying to move forward and get employees to pay for medical benefits.

“The way this works, the manager kind of steps back and our labor attorney, deputy chief, chief and finance director sit down, bargain — they’re more involved with it than I was,” Eggleston said.

City finance director John Green said that the city budgeted a 2.5% wage increase when the 2021 budget was put together and the wage increase will not affect the 2021 budget, but will increase the 2022 and 2023 budgets. Currently, the city spends approximately $1.1M per year in health care costs. Changes in health insurance will result in employees of the police department paying an additional 3% of the monthly health care premium, which is an increase from 12% to 15%. The 3% increase, if implemented city-wide, could save the city approximately $36,000 per year in premium cost.

“We were really looking more for operational efficiencies than we were the dollars and cents, as long as we could keep fairly consistent with what we had already budgeted,” Green said.

Also approved was a resolution allowing Eggleston to sign an agreement with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for the OffChannel Wetland Project, including accepting $254,023.50 in grant funding from H2OHIO. Earlier this year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services reached out to Eric Mack, director of municipal services and engineering, about the grant. The project will be fully funded by the grant and not require any additional funding from the city, will give the city Miami Conservancy District credit and will create a fishing pond along the river. The fishing pond will create additional flood stores and reduce erosion along the river.

Under citizen comments, Kim Bulgin, executive director of the Tipp City Downtown Partnership, mentioned that Congressman Warren Davidson would be visiting downtown Tipp City late Friday morning to meet with local business owners and discuss how they made it through the first year of the pandemic.

The following items were also approved at Monday’s meeting:

• An ordinance amending and modifying the codified ordinances in order to eliminate outdated language and policies.

• A resolution allowing the city to utilize an alternative, short-form format to meet annual tax budget filing requirements of the Miami County Budget Commission under the Ohio Revised Code.

The next meeting of Tipp City Council will be at 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 3.