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Lebanon City Council at its May 22 meeting unanimously approved changes to its contract with the union representing its 21 paid firefighters.

The adjustments covering calendar years 2022 through 2025 are the result of arbitration between the city and the International Association of Firefighters, AFL-CIO Local 1952.

The city’s paid firefighters will receive pay increases of 3% in 2022, retroactively, 3.5% in 2023, and 4% in both 2024 and 2025.

In 2023, a newly-hired paid firefighter will receive a base annual salary of $47,199. The highest paid employee in the bargaining unit, the captain, will receive $68,454 this year.

Employee health insurance deductibles will also increase throughout the life of the contract, going from $350 per individual and $750 per family in 2022 to $550 and $950 in 2025.

Prescription co-pays and employees’ share of premiums will also increase throughout the contract.

The revised contract also makes changes in post-retirement healthcare benefits, and reduces the service requirement to receive pension benefits from 25 to 20 years.

In other city business, council approved the 2023 “action plan” to spend $714,547 of Community Development Block Grant Funds it has received from the federal government. The money will be allocated as follows:

  • $104,000 for police and crime prevention in low income areas
  • $260,547 for street improvements in low income areas
  • $80,000 for housing rehabilitation and home buyer assistance, city wide
  • $130,000 for code enforcement and the city’s property maintenance program in low income areas
  • $140,000 for general administration

Council also authorized Mayor Sherry Capello to file a $60,000 grant application to Pennsylvania’s Greenways, Trails, and Recreation Program. If the application is successful, the city will use the money to convert tennis courts in Coleman Memorial Park into pickleball courts.

Capello reported that, through April 30, with the fiscal year 33% complete, receipts and expenses were at 40% and 22%, respectively, of 2023 budget projections.

The meeting closed with a request by Richard Leedy Jr. that the city change his home’s address from 250 E. Cherry St. to 801 N. 3rd Avenue.

Speaking on behalf of Leedy, attorney Derek Maninfior told council that the address change was needed because East Cherry Street “is no longer a public thoroughfare, therefore Mr. Leedy’s property has no access to a public road.” He did not say how an address change by itself would create access to North 3rd Avenue.

Council members and Capello seemed surprised and confused by the request, and Maninfior did not say how East Cherry Street had been transformed from a public street to private property, or when that might have happened.

Capello noted that the city has the power to change street addresses, but has to comply with U.S. Postal Service requirements.

Department of Public Works director Robin Getz said the address change isn’t warranted because the property has been designated 250 E. Cherry St. for at least 72 years and had six owners in that period, none of who had complained about the property’s accessibility.

Ultimately, Capello suggested that Maninfior discuss the matter with city solicitor Donna Long-Brightbill.

Next council meetings

City Council’s next “pre-council” planning meeting will be on Thursday, June 22, at 4:45 p.m. The next regular monthly council meeting will be on Monday, June 26, at 6:30 p.m.

Both meetings are open to the public and will be held in the Dixon Council Chambers on the first floor of Lebanon City Hall, 735 Cumberland Street, Lebanon.

Meetings are also streamed live on YouTube, here.

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Chris Coyle writes primarily on government, the courts, and business. He retired as an attorney at the end of 2018, after concentrating for nearly four decades on civil and criminal litigation and trials. A career highlight was successfully defending a retired Pennsylvania state trooper who was accused,...


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