Council begins tradition of generosity

Here are my notes from last night’s city council meeting:

New Tradition

I have made it no secret that I believe City Council is overpaid. It goes beyond mere opinion and into fact; compare our council pay with surrounding communities and you’ll see, based on our population, each Stow council member should be paid about $10,000 per year, instead of $15,000. What’s more is that the Council President receives an extra $1,000 — for a salary of $16,000.

I have raised this issue in the past, and it failed to gain traction. In fact, it caused the council to be fractured.

Last night, I proposed a solution that solves part of the problem and was not contentious. In fact, the vote was unanimous.

My idea was to start a tradition for the Council President to donate his/her extra $1,000 every year. The donation must go to a 501(c)(3) charity that supports Stow residents who are in need. This donation would be optional, but if the President declines to donate the $1,000 in a given year, then the Council would be required to consider legislation to lower the President’s salary. The President will use the donation to help publicize the worthy cause.

I donated my $1,000 from last year to Bulldog Bags, Inc., which is a Stow-based charity that provides bags of food to Stow-Munroe Falls students who are on free/reduced lunches–for them to take home during the weekend. It’s as worthy of a cause as we have in Stow, and I think we put the City’s money to good use with this donation.

Council of Governments legislation

As you are aware, the City of Stow is creating a council of governments (a “COG”) for 911 dispatch services with Cuyahoga Falls, Tallmadge and Summit County. The bylaws of the COG will be important, to ensure that Stow is not giving up too much authority, to ensure that the funding mechanism is fair, and to ensure costs are kept under control.

Last night, we voted unanimously to adopt Brian Lowdermilk’s proposal to require City Council to have final approval over the dispatch COG’s bylaws. I added an amendment to ensure that Stow’s COG representative is an elected official — so there will be some accountability to voters.

The law directors are still hammering out the COG documents. At this point, no legislation has been introduced to adopt the COG.