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Council OKs wage adjustments for city, WPU employees

The Worthington City Council approved on Monday a mid-contract wage adjustment for all city and Worthington Public Utilities employees, effective Jan. 1, 2024, following a recommendation from the city’s Compensation Committee.

The city and its three bargaining units have agreements running through Dec. 31, 2024. The recommended wage adjustments effective this coming Jan. 1 are: a 5.5% wage adjustment for all POST licensed law enforcement personnel (these wages would be funded with Public Safety Aid the city will receive in late December of this year); and a 2.5% wage adjustment for all other city and WPU personnel. These wages would be funded with enhanced interest earnings that will be realized on 12 Certificates of Deposit that will mature in 2024. These wage adjustments are in addition to the 3.5% Cost of Living Adjustments in the city’s current bargaining unit agreements.

Also Monday, the council approved a consulting agreement between the city and National Insurance Services (NIS). The city’s current health insurance provider agreement terminates on Dec. 31, and city staff worked with NIS to solicit proposals for employee health insurance and received seven qualified proposals. A decision was ultimately made to continue offering employee health insurance through the Public Employee Insurance Program (PEIP). PEIP’s proposal for 2024 rates represent a 4.4% increase over 2023 rates.

Among engineering items Monday, the council approved: a petition for the installation of a sanitary sewer system for the potential housing development on the property commonly known as Haack Acres; a petition for the installation of a public sanitary sewer system to replace the existing private sewer connections originating from 11th Street; and a resolution ordering the preparation of a report on Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue for street reconstruction improvement with segments from Ninth Street to 11th Street.

The council also approved an application for a forgivable loan through the city’s Workforce Housing Program for Celina Quijano for a newly constructed house they are purchasing at 2228 Eleanor St.

There were also two public hearings during the council meeting. After the first, council members approved a resolution that calls for payment of the principal and interest for the Cherrywood Storm Sewer Improvement Assessment.

A second public hearing followed for a city residential property tax abatement program application submitted by KJSM Investments. The applicant sought approval of tax abatement for the construction of a two-unit condominium at 2385 and 2395 Cherrywood Lane. Staff recommending approval of the application, and council members passed it without dissent.

Additionally, the Worthington Economic Development Authority approved a Façade Improvement Matching Grant program application during a brief Monday business session prior to the start of the Worthington City Council meeting.

KJSM Investments submitted an application for the grant program for work to take place at 705 10th Ave. (Westridge Accounting). The building is a new purchase for KJSM Investments, which plans to fix it up. Work includes siding, window replacement, roof replacement, an “eyebrow’ (similar to an awning) and other repairs.

KJSM Investments and Johnson Builders and Realty are owned by the same individuals, and they plan to use their own crews to complete the work. Submitted with the application was a bid for the amount of $43,992. The applicant later provided staff with a materials-only quote for $18,669. This materials list does not include material going into the project by subcontractors, nor does it include materials for the “eyebrow.”

The property is currently zoned ‘B-3’ General Business District and was eligible for a 1:2 match up to $5,000. The EDA awarded the full $5,000 during its Monday meeting.


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