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The cost of living increase recommended by the mayor was changed by City Council members providing a 2% increase for all employees who earn $49,999 and 1.6% for those who earn $50,000 and above.

"There were some concerns mentioned in the past," Mayor Jackie Crabtree said, "about employees on the bottom of the scale not getting as much a benefit as persons on the top of the scale... I thought we'd talk about this and see what y'all want to do."

Council member Ray Easley said 1.6% is what Social Security is giving and last year's discussion ended up in giving all employees a "step increase."

"Is this already built into all the departments' budgets?" Steve Guthrie asked.

"Our folks work really, really hard," Crabtree said, justifying an increase for employees.

Ten of the 38 full-time employees earn $50,000 or more according to a chart provided by the mayor. If all employees had received the 1.6% increase, it would have increased salaries by $19,622.98 for a total amount spent in salaries of $1,246,058.98.

The date of the December meeting was changed in order to allow the council to approved the amended 2019 budget as late as possible in the fiscal year.

"Only five departments had to be amended for 2019," City Clerk Sandy Button told the council. "The total budget was actually down, it was less."

She explained that the budget has to be amended any time a line item varies from the approved budget. She said county sales tax revenue was over what was anticipated. The original 2019 budget showed revenue of $1,160,000 but $1,165,200 was actually received.

A noticeable increase was reflected in legal fees with $10,000 budgeted but $40,600 spent.

"We had to pay for the Municipal League," Button said. "The deductible for the Municipal League (legal) is huge."

Crabtree and Button alluded to lawsuits in which the city was involved.

"The thing I noticed the most is that we actually went down," she reiterated. "People were really trying to be careful and frugal with the money."

Receipts were greater than anticipated in building and electrical permits with $171,000 received and $160,000 budgeted. Court fines decreased from $175,000 to $136,700. Dog ordinance receipts decreased from a budgeted $1,400 to $900. The sales tax receipts were up from an anticipated $750,000 to $771,000.

In all in City General, receipts decreased from $4,266,640 to $4,263,700.

For expenditures, engineering fees increased from $2,000 to $5,100; fixed assets increased from $5,000 to $10,000; mosquito control decreased from $5,000 to $4,500; Mule Jump expense increased from $20,000 to $25,700; "other" increased from $20,000 to $38,900; salaries from $200,000 to $208,400; repair and maintenance/vehicles from $1,500 to $2,300; repair and maintenance/building from $13,000 to $16,600; and repair and maintenance/equipment from $3,000 to $3,900.

In all in City General, expenditures decreased from $4,266,640 to $4,263,700.

The Street Department budget decreased from $861,000 to $832,400.

The Fire Department budget decreased from $662,000 to $605,500.

The Library budget increased from $71,480 to $90,490. The largest increase in the library budget were increases in equipment from $2,000 to $5,000, miscellaneous from $1,500 to $6,490 and supplies from $3,000 to $6,000. City bookkeeper Starla Billington explained the increase was money spent for software, supplies and furniture.

The City Park budget increased from $34,825 to $144,625, due to the addition of the splash pad.

In other business, the council:

• Approved the transfer of $150,000 from impact fees to the Street Fund;

• Approved rezoning land on Andy Buck Road to R-1 (low density) and R-2 (medium density), single family dwellings;

• Heard the second reading of an ordinance amending the policy for extension of city utilities outside the city;

• Approved the Dec. 31, 2018, city audit from the Legislative Joint Auditing Committee;

• Approved the appointment of Shane Perry as city attorney at an hourly rate of $200 per hour and authorizing Perry to appoint one or more attorneys as deemed necessary for carrying out the duties as the attorney; and

• Approved the appointment of Jay Williams as city prosecutor at a rate of $3,000 per month for District Court and $225 per hour for Circuit Court.

Sports on 01/08/2020

Print Headline: City employees' COLAs vary; 2019 budget amended

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