- Associated Press - Saturday, February 8, 2014

MCCOMB, Miss. (AP) - Selectmen continue to talk about a cost-of-living pay raise for McComb’s city employees, but they say a vote is not likely in the near future.

The Enterprise-Journal reported (https://bit.ly/LX3S22) the discussion first arose when $1 million in restricted funds was released to the city’s general and utility funds. Since then, the board has been split - not on whether or not to give raises, but on how much of a percentage to give and when to give them.

Selectman Michael Cameron wants the raises to come as soon as possible. Mayor Whitney Rawlings said the additional money should be added during the budget-writing process this summer, and the raises should take effect Oct. 1 at the start of the city’s next fiscal year.

“This pay raise should be (city administrator Quordiniah Lockley‘s) order for the next fiscal year’s budget,” Rawlings said.

As for the $1 million in restricted funds, the mayor said he’d rather see it spent on one-time purchases for big-ticket items, such as equipment for the public works department.

“The monies that started all this discussion, those monies are one-time money, not sustainable money. It needs to be handled correctly in the budget process. We tell (Lockley) what percentage we want, and then he has to make the numbers work.”

The board has discussed giving city workers across-the-board raises of 3 to 6 percent.

A 3 percent raise would cost the city about $167,000, and a 6 percent raise would cost about $334,000.

Lockley said city employees have not received a cost-of-living raise in five years.

Rawlings said giving raises now would be a financially dicey move for McComb. He said that if the city decides to spend more money on personnel now it will mean cuts in city operations.

He said that since the Board of Selectmen took office in 2011, selectmen have steadily increased the amount spent on road repair in McComb, budgeting $600,000 for this fiscal year.

“Streets are important,” Rawlings said. “Look at what we’ve put into our budget. When we started, we had $0. That’s a commitment. We owe our employees that commitment, and we should commit to do this for them in the next budget year, but not now.”

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Information from: Enterprise-Journal, https://www.enterprise-journal.com


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