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NEWTON FALLS – After a lengthy discussion, the Parish Council on Wednesday ruled that staff will not be given June 16 as additional paid leave next week due to the parish’s current financial woes.

Council members Chris Granchie and Julie Stimpert voted in favor of granting furlough to the staff, while council members John Baryak and Tesa Spletzer voted against.

Mayor Ken Kline, who said he supports the holiday and what it stands for, voted “no” To break the 2-2 tie, notes that the $7,000 cost for employees having a day off isn’t what the community can afford this year.

Village leader Pam Priddy said staff had approached her about a public holiday on June 16 as they did not have the 2021 public holiday, so a request was made to put the motion on the agenda to make June 16 a public holiday, which falls on June 20 is to be observed.

Some local communities grant employees time off, while others do not.

Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of African American slaves in the United States. While June 19 has been celebrated on June 19 in various parts of the United States since 1865, it was only last year that it was declared a federal holiday.

Some residents at the meeting suggested giving staff the opportunity to take June 16 off instead of another federal holiday later in the year.

Granchie, who supported the legislation, said June 16 has important cultural significance as it recognizes a day when a whole group of people were granted independence from slavery, so the day should be included as a public holiday for employees .

“Money shouldn’t be a sticking point” he said.

Baryak said he could not support another paid leave if the village did not have the money. He said Juneteenth could be watched next year.

“When we need to save money, this is not the time for raises or additional paid days off. We must be good stewards of money. We need to show taxpayers that we’re trying to be fiscally responsible. We don’t have the money. We can see where we are at Christmas and maybe give Christmas Eve. he said.

Baryak said there is no mandate that says municipalities must observe June 16 as a public holiday.

Spletzer said “We can come back to that in the future. Right now, between $6,000 and $7,000 is more than we can afford.”

Stimpert said it was an insult to staff not to give them the leave compared to the money spent on the services of the director of justice and the prosecutor’s office and others over the past year.

On other matters, the council voted to have Priddy provide appraisals for properties at 612 W. Broad St., where the current city building departments are located, and at 19 N. Canal St., where the fire department, police department and municipality are located are to be obtained by court for the possible sale of one of the properties.

Baryak said he’s heard from officials over the past few months looking for all sorts of ways to save or raise money.

“It’s a way for us to show people that we’re considering all possibilities. If we can sell one of the locations for a good price, we can look for another location. That’s at least worth exploring.” said Barjak.

Priddy said she will only see what the value of the two buildings is for a possible sale if that decision is made. She said both the police department and the district court are aware of what is being investigated.

“We just see how each building would be rated and then figure out how to proceed and what the best alternative is,” said Priddy.

She said if a decision is made to sell any of the buildings, arrangements would be made to move offices from one building to the other if conversion is required.

The SCOPE senior center is located at 612 W. Broad St., and officials said if that building sells, the center would have to find another location.

Spletzer said this is simply to see what may need to be done if officials decide to take steps to sell one of the buildings. She said getting the appraisals is the first step.

Katie Carl said there is a 99-year lease with the joint fire district for the fire bays and offices at one site.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com



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