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Tiffin to consider opting out of Johnson County minimum wage ordinance

The potential ordinance would still increase city's minimum wage to $9 an hour

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TIFFIN — City officials in Tiffin hope to soon reach a long-awaited conclusion on a minimum wage vote for the community of more than 2,000 residents.

The potential ordinance — which would take three readings to pass — would opt out of Johnson County’s minimum wage ordinance, but still increase the city’s minimum pay rate.

Doug Boldt, Tiffin city administrator, said the Tiffin City Council voted 4-1 during a Feb. 25 special formal meeting to have Boldt draft an ordinance that would place the city’s minimum wage at $9 an hour.

If passed, Tiffin’s $9 ordinance will have no direct connections to the Johnson County minimum wage, which is slated to increase in May and reach $10.10 an hour in 2017.

A draft ordinance should come before the council next Tuesday.

See more: Johnson County's minimum wage increase, explained

Boldt said discussion at the meeting hovered between $8.75 and $9.15 an hour before the council settled on $9 for the proposed new rate.

One thing was clear, Boldt said, the council was ready to make a decision.

“The council, there were just visibly spent from talking about this thing,” Boldt said. “You would just see it on their faces, they wanted to be done with this, they didn’t want to fight it anymore and they tried several different compromises, I would say. This is still a bit of a compromise, but it does allow us to move on.”

Earlier discussions among the Tiffin council included creating a tiered system that would have kept the $7.25 an hour state/federal minimum wage for those younger than 18 years old and apply the new, higher Johnson County wage to those older that 18. The resolution failed in the second of three readings required to pass.

The council briefly discussed dropping that age threshold down to 16 years old as, but again the plan was scrapped.

Boldt said the council is hopeful to finally reach a vote with majority approval and move on to other matters.

“They all said we need to be done with this,” Boldt said. “We need to get back to building streets and trails and improving our parks and things like that.”

It’s been four months since the first increase to Johnson County’s minimum wage was implemented. In May, the second 95-cent hike will take effect and bring the county wage to $9.15 an hour. That rate will reach $10.10 in 2017.

Most of the county’s cities are following the county’s ordinance, but the cities of Oxford, Shueyville, Solon, and Swisher have opted out.

Linn County’s Board of Supervisors has begun early discussions about exploring the impact of a minimum-wage increase in their county.

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