Aldermen raise their pay $100

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, August 20, 2003

WESSON — The board of aldermen voted Tuesday to give themselvesraises in the amount of $100 a month, according to minutes from therecessed meeting.

Town Clerk Linda Dykes, who records the minutes, said the raisewould be effective with the start of the new budget beginning Oct.1.

Board members are currently paid $400 a month from the generalfund for their service to the town. The raise will allow them a$500 a month salary. The raise will not apply to the salary ofMayor Alton Shaw.

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Alderman Robert Derrick said the board voted 3-1 for the raise,with the only opposition from Lura Greer. Alderman John Welter Jr.,who has suffered a back injury, was unable to attend the meeting.When reached for comment Wednesday, Welter said he thought theraise came at a time of turmoil with many residents upset withseveral issues in town.

“I just don’t think

at this time we should vote ourselves a raise,” he said.

Derrick believes it was time for a raise because the aldermenhave put off a decision for many years.

“It has been 12 years since the board had a raise,” he said.”Back about eight years ago when our finances got so low, the boardvoted to cut our salary in half. We did that for about eight ornine months.”

Several members of the newly-formed Concerned Citizens Groupwere in attendance at the meeting, but most had left beforealdermen addressed the issue of a raise.

Juanita Teasley of the Concerned Citizens Group said she had toleave around 9:15 p.m., and the raise had not been discussed atthat time.

When Teasley found out about the board’s decision Wednesdaymorning, she questioned where the money would come from, andworried about water rate increases.

“That (a raise) would be OK as long as they don’t raise ourwater rates,” she commented.

The town was in an uproar last summer when water rates wereincreased by aldermen to meet the state requirements that thetown’s water system support its functions.

Since the increase in rates, aldermen have noted a betterfinancial situation for the town because money from the generalfund is no longer being used to pay for shortcomings in the watersystem.

“We feel like we’re in better financial condition than we havebeen in a while,” said Derrick. “Just about every year we’ve giventhe city employees a raise, at least a cost of living raise, and wedecided it was time for a raise (for us).”

Derrick mentioned the possibility of the town annexing more landto increase the population, thus increasing the town’s revenue toassist the town with costs.

A budget hearing is set to coincide with the next scheduledboard meeting, which will be held at 7 p.m., Sept. 2, at townhall.

Attempts by The DAILY LEADER to reach Aldermen Lura Greer andHollis Cowen Jr., for comment Wednesday were unsuccessful.