Mayor Perrin talks funding realities ahead of council meeting - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Mayor Perrin talks funding realities ahead of council meeting

(Source: KAIT) (Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT) (Source: KAIT)
(Source: KAIT) (Source: KAIT)
JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -

Less than a week ahead of the next Jonesboro City Council meeting, Mayor Harold Perrin talked about funding realities with the city's Finance Committee.

"You keep pulling from that Christmas Club, there ain't going to be no Christmas Club left," Mayor Perrin said.

At the upcoming city council meeting on Sept. 20, the main topic to be discussed is police pay.

Jonesboro police have been pushing to get a step plan implemented into their salaries for approximately two years now.

A proposal for a $646,000 pay plan was presented to the city council on Sept. 6.

At that meeting, Alderman Darrel Dover requested that Jonesboro Chief Financial Officer Suzanne Allen run numbers on what it would cost to put every city employee on a step plan.

The Finance Committee met Wednesday afternoon to discuss other business but touched on those pay plans as well. Those documents were given to city council members Friday but have not been made public yet.

Mayor Perrin said whatever the council decides, the administration will make it work.

"If it's cutting expenses that we've had over the years, then we're going to," Mayor Perrin said. "Just be cautious and be careful as you look and evaluate what you want to do. I want to do the same thing you do and that's do something. The question is, how much can you bite off?"

Mayor Perrin said he wasn't trying to use scare tactics, but simply looking at the figures.

"Whatever you adopt, you're going to live with," he said. "Us as the administration will make it work. The only way we were going to do that is we're going to cut expenses, we're going to take equipment out of there, we're going to do everything we possibly can because we will have a balanced budget. Don't promise somebody something and then have to come back, because then you may even have to reduce personnel in some of these departments. You may have to reduce your capital improvements that you want to do for the City of Jonesboro."

After the meeting, Region 8 News spoke with Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliott about their proposed plan that will be on its second of three readings at the next council meeting.

Chief Elliott said he knows it’s possible their plan could be tabled in place of a city-wide pay plan discussion.

“After looking at some of these plans, comparative to what we’ve proposed, it’s very comparable in a lot of areas,” Chief Elliott said. “I think what Mr. Dover is trying to work on is something that we’d be happy with.”

Chief Elliott said city-wide step raises would be a huge benefit to all City of Jonesboro employees.

“My officers agree that would be a huge benefit and if we could be consistent across the city, I think that would make all city employees happy,” Chief Elliott said. “The City of Jonesboro employees, it is one family and we would like to see this plan to do step raises across the city.”

Chief Elliott said regardless of what happens, their proposal is still before the city council.

“Hopefully something can be drawn up, and they can do something city-wide in the near future," Chief Elliot said. "That would be wonderful. We could pull that other plan down and do everything all at once.”

The next city council meeting is Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 5:30 p.m.

Already, the Jonesboro Fire Department expects a large crowd like last time. On Sept. 6, fire officials had to keep approximately 50 people from entering the council chambers due to it already being at maximum capacity.

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