Brundidge council to consider pay raise today

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A pay increase for council members and the mayor is likely to be on the agenda for today’s Brundidge City Council meeting.

During its last meeting, the council held the first reading of an ordinance to increase council members’ salaries from $500 to $600 a month and the mayor’s salary from $1,100 to $1,500 a month. The changes would not affect current council members but would take effect after the new mayor and council are sworn in.

The ordinance must be adopted before Feb. 23, 2016, to be valid.

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District 2 Councilman Arthur Lee Griffin said the pay increases are long overdue for the council members. “City workers get a cost of living raise in October,” he said. “It’s been 20 years since the council got a raise. We deserve it.”

The raises would reflect a 20 percent increase for council members and a 36 percent increase for the mayor.

“The city has projects on the table that will make the city smell like a rose,” he said. “And the money’s in the budget.”

Betty Baxter, District 1, agreed. She said the council members have to entertain complaints by the citizens and “it’s something all the time.” Baxter said like Griffin, she plans to seek re-election to the council.

Steven Coleman, who is not seeking re-election, said $100 is “really nothing” and added that the raise is “justified.”

District 4 Councilmember Cynthia Pearson said the council considered salaries paid to comparable communities in drafting the proposal.

She specifically pointed to Luverne, where the council members make $500 per month and the mayor, $1,500.

Luverne’s population is 2,842 and Brundidge’s is 2,076.

According to the 2010 census, the median income for a family in Luverne was $51,500. About 15.8 percent of the population was below the poverty line.

The median income for a family in Brundidge was $29,073. About 33.5 percent of the population was below the poverty line.

Margaret Ross, District 3, said she would not support an increase, adding the current salary is “more than sufficient.”

“There people in Brundidge who are living on fixed incomes that are not much more than $600 a month if that that much,” Ross said. “To be paid $600 for basically two meetings a month is not justified.”

Ross has not decided whether she will seek re-election.