By Ron Nunnari
CLAYTON — At its Aug. 3 regularly scheduled meeting the city of Clayton recognized its Spring VIP award winner and passed legislation to collect funds for unpaid charges.
Beth Creamer was called to the podium to receive the Spring VIP award, which is presented quarterly to property owners that have gone above and beyond beautifying their properties. Craig and Beth Creamer live at 7462 Elru Dr.
“We appreciate your diligence in keeping your property up,” said Mayor Mike Stevens as he presented the award. “It helps all of the neighborhood and our whole city. It’s really an honor to be nominated and selected, so we appreciate you and thank you very much.”
The Creamers were presented with a plaque and yard sign in honor of receiving the award.
An ordinance to establish salaries for elected officials was presented for a possible vote.
In February the city convened a ‘Council Salary Commission’ to review council salaries. The commission made a recommendation for an increase for council members from $4,800 a year to $4,896 per year and an increase for the mayor from $7,200 a year to $7,344.
The commission also recommended increasing the clerk’s salary from $7,500 per year to $8,250.
“The council members salary and the mayor’s salary, that has to be passed by ordinance and is required to be done by Sept. 1 if that is what council chooses to do,” said City Manager Amanda Zimmerlin.
“We cannot pass that as an emergency, so we need to bring it tonight for two readings,” Zimmerlin noted. “The clerk salary is not governed by that, so if council decides you don’t want to do a council salary increase but still want to do a clerk salary increase, you can just direct me at the beginning of the year when we do salaries to change the salary.”
Mayor Stevens recommended that council member and mayor salaries remain the same while the clerk would receive an increase in pay. Council member Ken Henning, Jr., seconded the mayor’s proposal.
Other members agreed, noting that the clerk does a lot of work outside of meetings that benefits council.
Under new business, council adopted the first reading of seven ordinances.
“All of the ordinances that I have tonight are for assessments to the property taxes that we do every year,” said Director of Finance Kevin Schweitzer.
The first ordinance adopted the estimate of assessments and certified unpaid charges for the 2023/2024 curb and gutter repair / replacement work that totaled $2,500 or less. The charges will be sent to the county auditor to be collected in five annual installments.
The second ordinance was also for curb and gutter work in excess of $2,500 that will be collected in ten annual installments.
A third ordinance pertained to unpaid charges for grass / weed cutting.
“We have about $20,000 worth of charges where we had to go cut grass or weeds for individuals that were not maintaining their property,” Schweitzer said.
The fourth ordinance was adopted to maintain lighting assessments for 13 lighting districts in the city.
Ordinance O-08-23-17 authorized the submission of the 2023 / 2024 North Clayton Community Authority charge assessments to the county auditor.
“We have about $10,000 worth of charges that the owners did not pay, so this will go on their taxes,” Schweitzer said.
A sixth ordinance was adopted certifying unpaid charges for nuisance assessments to be forwarded to the county auditor for collection with real estate taxes.
“We have about $4,500 worth of nuisance charges where we had to go out to pick up debris or trash and haul it down to the county incinerator,” Schweitzer stated. “Some people have paid their bills; other haven’t so that is why we are assessing it to their property.”
The final ordinance imposed assessments upon property owners in arrears for payment of fees for waste hauling and disposal services.
“This is from our contract with Republic Services. We have about $63,000 of unpaid bills,” Schweitzer noted. “Residents do receive quarterly bills as well as letters that we send out before we go through this process informing them what the delinquent amount is to give them an opportunity to pay.”
The city must fulfill its contract with Republic and has paid for the unpaid balance out of the city budget. The city must then collect the money owed by assessing property owners. Those funds then go back into the city budget.
Reach Ron Nunnari at [email protected].