RISON – After discussing the issue for more than a half hour, the Rison City Council approved a 2018 city budget that includes a 2 percent pay increase that will be distributed evenly among all city workers.
Meanwhile, City Recorder-Treasurer Rhonda Thompson reported that revenue in the water department is up after installation of the new digital water meters, and Mayor Vernon Dollar said he lacks one position from having a new Zoning and Planning Commission in place.
Most of the discussion during Tuesday night’s regular monthly meeting of the Rison City Council revolved around the salaries. Two alderman, Jimmy Bowlin and Cleve Reed, said they would like to see a way to raise the salaries of some of the lower-paid workers.
Dollar first proposed the 2018 city budget during the November council meeting, but decided to table the matter until the December meeting so the council could consider including a 2 percent pay raise in the budget.
When the mayor asked the council Tuesday night what it wanted to do, there were a few moments of silence before Bowlin made a motion to approve the budget without a pay raise. His motion, however, died on the floor for the lack of a second.
That opened the door for several minutes of discussion regarding pay for city employees. In his previous stint on the city council a few years ago, Bowlin proposed an overhaul of the city’s salary structure, claiming that Rison was paying some workers more than and other less than those same positions were paid in towns of comparable size. He proposed placing a cap on some salaries.
That led to Alderman Kelley Holt to ask Thompson if the city could afford the 2 percent raise? Thompson said there is more revenue coming into the city now than at any time since she took office. She said all the city departments – city general, water, sewer and streets – are currently operating under budget by 11 percent or better.
To read the full article, see the December 6, 2017 print or e-Herald edition of The Herald.