The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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Oregon City Council will vote on entering into a contract with AFSCME at a council meeting on Monday following lengthy negotiations.

“We did have quite an extended time period where we negotiated this agreement with AFSCME,” said Administrator Ken Filipiak at a committee of the whole meeting last Monday. “On balance, I think it’s a fair agreement. There’s some give and take in here. We addressed a lot of long standing issues that I know ultimately will lead to better efficiency. We addressed a few issues that were important to the union related to their seniority and other matters. It will probably save us a lot of money in the long run.”

The agreement “pretty well reflects what you’ve seen with the other bargaining units to this point, exactly in the same vein as the patrolmen’s,” said Filipiak. The cap for health insurance is the same, with a 90-10 split, he added.

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Imagine a widespread E. coli outbreak that sickens millions of Americans. By the next year, the government determines that lax oversight exacerbated the problem and calls for restructured FDA regulations to protect consumers from tainted products.

In response, the industry cries foul. “These regulations will limit our innovations,” howl the food lobbyists. “Our customers deserve greater freedom of choice.”

Or, imagine this scenario. Children’s toys contaminated with lead paint have been found on store shelves, so the Consumer Product Safety Commission responds with regulations to protect children from dangerous toys.

“No fair,” cry toy-company lobbyists. “Low-income consumers can only afford the lead toys. Why should the government punish low-income families by regulating toys?”

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Mayor Marge Brown, who is seeking a third term, and her challenger, long-time Councilman Mike Seferian, sparred for about an hour in a debate before about 150 people in St. Charles-Mercy Hospital’s auditorium Wednesday evening.

The debate was sponsored by the Eastern Maumee Bay Chamber of Commerce, The Press, WRSCradio.com and Channel 13. Jeff Smith from Channel 13 served as moderator.

Brown and Seferian answered questions on a variety of issues, including economic regionalism, a new senior center, the need for a full-time fire department, how to improve drainage, how to maximize the city’s greatest assets, Lake Erie and Maumee Bay State Park, and what can be done to help existing small businesses.

On economic regionalism, Brown, who had been chairman of the executive board of The Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments (TMACOG), said sitting down and networking with area communities is important.

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Four full-time employees with the City of Northwood received notices that their last work day is November 6 due to the recession.

Two full-time police officers, a full-time court employee, and a full-time secretary will lose their jobs next month because of a big loss to the city in income tax revenue.

“In May, we were hanging in there, just down 6.3 percent,” said Administrator Pat Bacon. In June, we were down 8.8 percent, then 9.7 percent in July. We knew we could handle a 10 percent loss in revenue. We anticipated that. In August, it went to 12.7 percent, then in September, it was 14.8 percent. That came out of nowhere.”

Much of the loss is attributable to shutdowns of four major automotive suppliers in the city for a couple months, she said.

“We went from being down $121,000 in May to being down $484,000 in September. That’s devastating. And that was not projected. It was far worse than we thought because we have so many automotive related suppliers. And when the Jeep plant’s down, the suppliers aren’t working. Or they go from three shifts to one shift,” she said.

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Costs incurred by the Village of Walbridge for renovating a building and property along Drouillard Road  have a member of council questioning the village’s procedures for such transactions.

Ed Kolanko, a member of council’s finance committee, last week said he became frustrated when bills for the renovation costs came streaming in and soon easily exceeded the administration’s initial estimates.

In March, the village purchased the building and property at 30801 Drouillard Road for $70,000.

The ordinance by council approving the purchase was quickly followed by a motion to approve a lease for the property with Professional Transportation, Inc., which had been located on Main Street but was looking for another site.

As the village began renovating the building, Kolanko said the village administration projected costs would be about $10,000.

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minimum wage

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