By Caitlin Rickard
While the new Cumberland Community Development District was the main attraction on the agenda for the Lebanon City Council Tuesday night, it also discussed and passed other items, including a one-step raise for all employees.
The raises have been a source of contention for the past several weeks, with an ordinance passing Oct. 29 to approve the step raises for some employees followed by Mayor Philip Craighead’s veto the ordinance Oct. 31.
Craighead chose to veto the ordinance because it would only give the raises to those who didn’t receive a pay increase or promotion included in the 2013-14 fiscal year budget, and those who did receive a raise then would be excluded from this one-step increase.
At the council’s last meeting, Craighead proposed the same ordinance, but included the around 20 employees previously left out and added “permanent part-time” employees to the mix of those who would receive raises.
With councilors Fred Burton and Kathy Warmath absent, the ordinance failed to pass by a 2-2 vote.
The council then set up a work session last week to answer any underlying questions and resolve concerns before this Tuesdays vote on the raises.
On Tuesday, Councilor Rob Cesternino amended the proposed one-step raises, which were set to take effect Jan. 1, and asked for the date to retro back to July 1 to include the whole year.
Cesternino and Craighead both cited the city was running ahead in sales tax revenue for the year and had the money to fund the raises now with the surplus in revenues.
The council supported Cesternino’s amendment and voted 6-0 in support of the amendment and one-step raises for city employees.
Prior to council’s meeting Tuesday, it met in a work session where talks of liquor tax money owed to the schools was up for discussion.
Craighead said the city had been in discussions with the state comptroller’s office and are waiting for more guidance in terms of getting the amount the city owes the schools and then continuing talks with the school board on how to pay.
Regarding the Cumberland Community Development District, the council is set to have another public forum Dec. 2 from 4-7 p.m. at Town Meeting Hall to answer the public’s questions and concerns and display the proposed plans.
A work session will then be held Dec. 3 at 5 p.m. for the council to discuss the proposed development and event center.