Como budget will likely include pay raise

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 26, 2016

Como budget will likely include pay raise

By John Howell
Como’s board of mayor and aldermen discussed possible raises for town employees and elected officials during Saturday morning’s 8 a.m. budget workshop.

Police Chief Earl Burdette said that low pay for officers makes the Como Police Department a “training ground” for officers who then leave for higher paying jobs with other jurisdictions.
“I’ll forego my raise this time and give it to the police officers,” Burdette said. “I would like to try to keep the ones we’ve got here.”

Como presently employs three full-time officers and four part-time officers. Certified officers receive $12 hourly; non-certified receive $10.

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Discussion among Mayor Everette Hill, Alderwomen Teresa Dishmon and Rachel Powell and Alderman John Walton included the feasibility for raises for all town employees including elected officials.

“We can’t afford insurance,” financial consultant Lygunnah Bean said. “We don’t have enough full-time employees to get in a group program.”

“Everette’s salary is much less than previous mayors,” Walton said. Mayor Hill’s salary is presently budgeted at $9,000 for 2017, the amount to which the 2016 budget brought it from $6,000 annually in 2015.

Aldermen presently receive $3,000 annually.

“I don’t think the board should get a raise until after the election,” Dishmon said. “We’re fixing to get another board in less than a year.”

Powell disagreed. “Put mine in there,” she said, if other municipal employees and officials are going to receive raises.

Como pays Bean $300 monthly, he said, for his role in assisting City Clerk Alice Houston and the mayor in preparing the budget and the monthly financial reports that lead to it. Hill said that Bean had also spent many hours working on the USDA application for the sewer and water rehabilitation loan.

The budget that Bean will present at the September 6 public hearing is expected to include the additional expense amounts that employee raises would create.