JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Jonesboro city officials are exploring the possibility of a 6 percent pay raise for elected officials, but some city council members are a bit concerned about the increase taking place.
After the city granted step raises for city employees in 2016, some council members feel this would not hurt.
"I know some people are thinking it is not time right now, but we granted that 11 percent for city employees and they went through this same process," said Mayor Harold Perrin. "What is the difference."
Perrin said this money will come from the reserve fund and leftover funds from certain accounts.
"We do have enough money saved to accommodate these raises," said Perrin. "Later down the line, we are focusing on making sure our capital expenditures are necessary just like the $2.4 million dollars we spent on an excavator and the amount of channeling we did on ditch improvements."
If this ordinance was to pass, Mayor Perrin, City Attorney Carol Duncan, City Clerk Donna Jackson and the 12 members of the council will each receive a 6 percent pay raise.
"It is all about factoring in the cost of living," said Perrin. "That is what it is all about. This will get the city leveled out."
Alderman David McClain expressed his concern during the meeting about the funding from those raises coming from money saved up.
"I do not think it is a time to do this," said McClain. "Saying these raises would limit some projects and possibly call for a sales tax, right now, I don't see this as a priority of ours. I just don't think we should do it."
The committee ultimately voted to forward this issue to the full council for their input.
"Transparency is important," said Perrin. "I think that you need to discuss it and talk about it. I think once they pick up on it, it is only a cost of living over three years at 2 percent. That is really what we are talking about here. And that is what the consultant recommended."
According to a salary survey comparing Jonesboro elected officials to corresponding positions in various towns, on average, the mayor and city clerk makes more than average and the city attorney and council make less than average.
This issue is set to be discussed in the next Jonesboro City Council meeting on September 5.
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