Council adds new fire chief position

By Cecilia Fox -

TIPP CITY — On Monday, the Tipp City council discussed and heard the first reading of a new ordinance amending the city’s electric utility rules, and created a new paid fire chief position.

Council has been attempting to modify the city’s electric utility rules since their Aug. 6 meeting. A version requiring rental property owners to sign a tenant’s utility application and assume responsibility for any unpaid and delinquent fees has abandoned last month following protest from property owners.

The current ordinance removes the language regarding landlord responsibility for outstanding electricity bills, as well as similar, previously unenforced language from the original 1990 document.

Rental property owners are already responsible for water, sewer and trash collection fees.

Council will vote on the ordinance at their next meeting.

Council also voted Monday night to add a fire chief position to the city’s pay and benefit schedules for non-union employees.

The position is listed as “Chief of Fire/Emergency Services” with a maximum bi-weekly salary of $3,989.74. This is the same rate listed for the police chief, finance director and assistant city manager.

The sister of late Fire Chief Steve Kessler, Abby Bowling, pointed out what she said are inconsistencies in the ordinance and said that the move to a paid fire chief position is “hastily implemented reaction to the unanticipated death of 20 year Fire Chief Steve Kessler.”

She added that the city needs to consult the current volunteer department about any moves toward a full-time department.

“I don’t think this has been quite as hastily done as Mrs. Bowling brought up, because I know it was discussed with Chief Kessler,” councilman John Kessler said.

Kessler said Monday’s ordinance was the first step in a three to five year process.

By Cecilia Fox