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Wesson aldermen look for police salary increase funds

WESSON — As the mayor presented the 2000-2001 budget for thetown Tuesday night, alderman expressed the need to increase a fewsalaries for the upcoming year.

“I think the police deserve a raise,” said Ward Three Aldermanand Mayor Pro-Tem Lura Greer. “They lay their lives on the lineevery day.”

Other alderman quickly agreed with the proposal, but were unsurewhere the town would get the funds for salary increases.

“I’m all for it if you show me where the money will come from,”said Ward One Alderman Robert Derrick.

The notion to raise the salary of law enforcement officers cameafter Mayor David McGee reported to the board the town was expectedto have a $22,000 surplus this year.

He also added that the surplus may be used to compensate theloss of a COPS grant. Wesson was awarded a $95,000 grant topartially pay for two officers’ salaries, but the grant ended thisyear, so the town will now have to make up the difference left fromthe grant.

McGee was willing to make any changes in the budget needed togive law enforcement an increase in salary. However, the board wasnot sure what needed to be changed.

“You just give me a recommendation and I’ll put it in thebudget,” he said.

The mayor plans on drawing up a few figures for the alderman toreview, and will meet with the alderman before the Sept. 18meeting, when the budget will be approved.

Other discussion during the budget hearing included how the taxlevy will not increase in the upcoming year.

“Everything is exactly like it was last year,” said McGee.

The tax rate will stand at 24 mills, with two mills for thelibrary and .25 mills for fire protection funds, reportedMcGee.

Other matters discussed during last night’s meeting includedroad projects and an update on the museum project.

McGee reported to the board about some projects that will getunder way soon in the town.

“I talked to the supervisor and he’s going to black top thatcurve at Wilmer Newman’s and Machinery Street off Third Street,”said McGee. “If there’s any left over, he’ll go through thecemetery.”

Alderman were pleased to hear of the progress being made on someof the roads. The need for pavement in a sharp curve near Newman’shouse has been a topic of discussion for several months.

Greer talked with board members about the museum project, whichconsists of using an old electric company building to house Wessonmemorabilia. A 1945 firetruck will also be on display in front ofthe building.

The mayor and board of alderman expressed interest as Greerpresented them with a preliminary drawing of the project and theproposed paint job for the firetruck.

“It’ll be nice if we can get it fixed,” said McGee about thefiretruck, which has been out of commission for some time.