- Associated Press - Friday, October 10, 2014

NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) - Natchez Mayor Butch Brown said he won’t hold aldermen a promise of raises to four department heads if it means more delay on adopting the city’s already late budget for the new fiscal year.

The board of aldermen had previously discussed freezing new hires and raises until January, and some aldermen expressed concern that some employees might get raises while others would not.

“The people in question were four new department heads,” Brown told The Natchez Democrat (https://bit.ly/1slu2yC). “We all started at the low end of the pay scale to see how they worked out working for the city and getting the job done with a promise of a raise if they were able to do it well.

“I think rather than split the board and have a tie-breaking vote, I will probably go along with withholding those raises until Jan. 2,” Brown said.

The board of aldermen must approve the city budget Tuesday. If they don’t, the city cannot legally spend money.

The budget was due Oct. 1, but legal advertising requirements delayed its adoption. While the city has not been able to spend funds since the budget year started, no bills or payroll have come due and city government has gone largely unaffected.

Brown said the four department heads - along with one addition in public works and an adjustment to make sure all public works employees were on the appropriate salary schedule - represented about $29,000 in the proposed budget.

The aldermen all knew about the understanding to adjust the directors’ salaries, Brown said.

“This was not something that was discussed or debated, and they were happy to confirm these people as employees,” he said. “With every one of those (directors) you can quantify how much more efficient those departments are through created income or the generation of fees. We are talking about departments that are generating enough money to pay for the individual.”

The new public works employee was previously hired under contract, but had been added as a full-time employee because of his valuable skills, Brown said.

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Information from: The Natchez Democrat, https://www.natchezdemocrat.com/

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