Tuesday, August 24, 2010

TOP STORY > >Sherwood workers will get $500 bonus

Leader staff writer

All Sherwood employees can expect a bonus check within the next few weeks of up to $500.

The Sherwood City Council, at its Monday meeting, agreed to spend $112,042 from the general fund to provide all employees with a one-time bonus.

The bonus is in lieu of raises the city could not afford in January. “At that time, we said we would look at the budget later in the year,” Mayor Virginia Hillman said, adding that raises are a priority for next year.

Full-time employees who have been with the city for more than 12 months will receive $500, while full-time employees with less than one-year service will receive a pro-rated amount based on their time with the city.

Part-time employees who have worked for the city for at least 1,000 hours will get a $250 bonus.

The one-time bonus doesn’t apply to elected officials.

In other council business:

An ordinance making changes to the city’s property maintenance and nuisance ordinance was read and approved once. An ordinance must be read and approved three times before it becomes law..

The planned changes to the current ordinance focus on stagnant water and vegetation growth.

The ordinance change bans stagnant water. Any foul standing pools of water that is not running or flowing and can serve as a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other insects will be considered stagnant water. It will be the responsibility of the property owner to get rid of stagnant water.

Another change will limit unkempt vegetation growth to less than eight inches and property owners or responsible parties will have five days to clear their lot of overrunning vegetation. Plus, all dead trees must be removed.

Another change allows a code-enforcement officer to enter a property, after the owner has been given written notice of a violation and not corrected the problem in the appropriate time. The officer will be allowed to fix or remove the problem and the expense will be placed in a lien against the property owner.

A new ordinance regulating unkempt yards and properties, focusing on grass and vegetation which was read once in July, was tabled indefinitely.

Alderman Becki Vassar still wants either a new ordinance or the current one reworked to add more teeth to the enforcement.

“Sherwood is too good of a city to have some people not to cut their grass or maintain their yards,” she said.

Vassar would like the city to have increasing fines for repeat offenders. “They need to know that we want them to keep their yards up,” the alderman said.

The council declared the structure at 5939 Round Top a public nuisance meaning that the property owners, Michael and Delores Goshen, have 30 days to tear down the building or bring it up to code. It the property owner does neither, then the city will tear down or remove it.

Police Chief Kel Nicholson briefed the council on the city’s recent drug take-back efforts where the police collected old and unused prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Police collected more than 63,000 pills and more than 10 gallons of liquid medicine.

“Our hopes were to get these medicines away from kids.” He said the Sherwood police would be assisting the DEA in a similar drug collection next month.

About a half-dozen residents were at the council meeting with flooding concerns. Mayor Virginia Hillman said the city was working on the problem and felt it was best if the residents would talk one-on-one with the city engineer, Ellen Norvell, and she would make an on-site visit and then the city would try to fix the problem.

The mayor reminded the council and those attending the meeting that Sherwood Fest was set for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 18. A chili cook-off will kickoff Sherwood Fest and it will start at 7 p.m. Sept. 17.

Alderman Butch Davis said Sherwood, for the first time, would have a Veterans Day parade. The parade will be at 2 p.m., Nov. 14 down a portion of Kiehl Avenue.