Plain City considers handling own payroll


Plain City officials are making a move to bring payroll operations back into the village.
In 2009, the village contracted with the Richwood Banking Company to provide payroll services. In April, Paychex began handling the payroll process for the village, charging about $300 per month.
Since then, village officials have not been satisfied with the service they have received from the company.
“It appeared to our employees that I was not doing my job and I don’t like that look,” Village Fiscal Officer Renee Sonnett said.
Sonnett said the issues came to a head this summer. She said she received a notice that a first-quarter unemployment report had not been filed with the Department of Job and Family Services.
“I got a letter from the unemployment bureau and we were assessed a late charge,” Sonnett said.
She said the village was charged more than $600 for the late report. Sonnett said she immediately contacted Paychex, which she said told her they would dispute the charge. She said she was told she would hear back from the company within 15 days.
“It’s now been more than 30 business days and I still haven’t heard anything,” Sonnett said.
The fiscal officer said she has all of the correspondence to and from the payroll services company. She said if Paychex resolves the issue, that will be fine. She said that if the charge is not resolved, it will be Paychex to pay.
“They should be responsible, and I am going to hold them to be responsible,” Sonnett said.
This is not the first issue village officials have had with the company.
“There is just too much happening, employees not getting paid, not getting paid the right amount, getting paid too much,” Sonnett said.
She said getting problems solved has been difficult.
“In every instance, when I have had issues, when I have needed to contact them, they are nearly impossible to get ahold, they will not return phone calls and I am just done with it,” Sonnett said.
At a recent village council meeting, Sonnett said she was, “going to bring the payroll back in-house.”
While not getting into the details, Sonnett said she had lost confidence in the payroll company.
She told council that by doing payroll herself, she would, “just have more control over it for our employees.”
Several council members wondered about the decision, noting that if something happens to Sonnett, there is no backup if something were to happen to Sonnett. She acknowledged the concern and explained that was the reason Plain City originally decided to use a payroll company.
“Once I get proficient at it, I will train (another person),” Sonnett told council.
Council also approved a decision to make Officer Phillip Greenbaum a detective. Police Chief Dale McKee said Greenbaum has been with the police department for 16 years and has attended a variety of training seminars to prepare him for the position.
Council member Nick Kennedy asked council members to consider legislation that would require developers to replace topsoil removed during the construction process. He said that when his home was built, contractors removed the topsoil from his home site and laid sod directly over rocks.
“In my neighborhood, if you want to have grass grow, you have to water it constantly and put a ton of nitrogen on it,” Kennedy said.
He said the contractors sell the topsoil or use it at other locations.
Kennedy said council could require a certain amount of topsoil on each building site.
“I think it would be better for our environment, better for Plain City,” Kennedy said.
Jennifer Michaelson, director of environmental health for the Madison County Health Department, said she provided the village with a number of larvicide disks to use in mosquito areas. She said there are times when a village needs to fog for mosquitos but there are times when less invasive methods can be used.
“You have to look at your situation and your circumstances,” Michaelson said. “What works for me right now, might not work for you right now with your situation.”
She said that while fogging does not kill larvae, the disks do not kill adult mosquitos.
She said that while Zika Virus has been in the news the last year, state health department officials are more concerned about West Nile Virus.
Kennedy asked if there had been studies on the long-term impact of fogging or the larvicides on the health of other bugs and animals, on plants or on humans.
“I don’t know, are we causing a bigger problem than we are solving?” Kennedy asked.
He said his children will be drinking the area water years from now. He said he would hate to learn that decisions to kill mosquitos now will impact the health of the water for decades.
“The idea of getting cancer, much outweighs getting a mosquito bite,” Kennedy said.
Michaelson said there is never going to be a 100 percent guarantee of safety.
She explained that, if health officials learn of an immediate threat, “ultimately, it is going to come down to peoples’ health over the potential issues.”

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