Meridian Star

Local News

September 4, 2013

Minimum pay increase for city employees tabled

MERIDIAN — Tuesday's meeting of the Meridian City Council began with the council tabling four agenda items – among them, a resolution to pay full-time city employees at least $9 per hour.

        The pay increase, as well as several other matters of concern, are contingent on approval of the city's budget, which, according to Ward 1 Councilman and Council President George Thomas, is close to being finalized.

        "The mayor's staff presented us a budget that was $3.2 million more than we had last year; they've cut that back," Thomas said. "We have not received the final figures from them, so we're waiting on that – what will be included, what will be cut. We're also continuing discussion on department heads' salaries ... (and) about a minimum wage level being set."

        Asked if he expected an increase for minimum wage salary employees, Thomas said not necessarily.

        "We still don't have the tax figures to know what our mil of tax will bring into the city," he said. "Until we get the figures on what the revenue will be, we can't tell you a thing as far as spending. The only way I see they can be approved at this time is if there is a tax increase."

        The council president also noted a request for 10 additions to the Meridian Police Department.

        "If you add 10 positions, that raises the total budget  approximately half a million dollars," he said. "So if you're going to add police, if you're going to increase salaries and other items, then you'll have to have a source of money."

        Also tabled until a future meeting and the reasons why were:

        • Order authorizing execution of Memorandum of Understanding with the Mississippi Transportation Commission (downtown street scape project – a $1 million pedestrian enhancement project for the historic African-American Business District). Reason: Final plans were unavailable.

        • Order authorizing execution of consulting agreement with Alter Ego LLC. Reason: Qualification statement not provided.

        • Proposed 2013 contract for the use of the county jail. Reason: Number allowed to be housed at the county jail.

        "They only want to let us put 25 people in the county jail," said Thomas, who was clearly unhappy with the proposition. "City property taxes pay approximately one-half of all the county's property taxes – which means approximately half of the sheriff's salary, the operation of the jail ... Now they're coming back to us saying they're going to put 25 people in jail out of 300?"

        Items voted on and approved were:

        • Order re-establishing petty cash funds for Fiscal Year 2014.

        • Order authorizing execution of Memorandum of Agreement with the Mississippi School of Protocol and Etiquette. Part of the Mayor's Leadership Council Program – which is geared to students in grades K-12 in Meridian's public, private and home school – the agreement is at no cost to the city.

        • Resolution amending Resolution No. 5842 in order to modify the date for delivery of the General Obligation Water & Sewer Bonds, Series 2013, not to exceed $1,200,000.

        • Order accepting bed for roof replacement of Public Works.

        Karen Rooney of Meridian Main Street gave a presentation on proposed plans for requested operating funds for FY 2014.Odell Hopkins of the city's Solid Waste Division announced plans or Household Hazardous Waste Day, which is scheduled for Sept. 14, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Public Works Complex, 311 27th Ave. S., and Family Bowl Lanes, 3510 North Hills St.

        Wart 2 Councilman Dustin Markham announced plans for a community forum on Sept. 24 at 6 p.m. at the East Mississippi Electric Power Association auditorium. Questions for the forum may be emailed to Markham at kdmarkham@yahoo.com or inbox or direct message his Facebook page.

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