SPANISH FORT — With an increasing number of people working for the city and other growing costs, Spanish Fort City Council members are discussing ending the annual pay supplement for municipal …
SPANISH FORT — With an increasing number of people working for the city and other growing costs, Spanish Fort City Council members are discussing ending the annual pay supplement for municipal employees.
At the council work session Monday, Nov. 7, members said city costs are increasing and the supplement will have to stop at some point.
Mayor Mike McMillan said the supplement is expected to cost the city about $32,000 this year. After discussions by council members, the mayor said the city may stop the supplements.
"Well from consensus, I think it's probably evident that we probably need to make sure that the employees are aware that the one-time supplements that have happened in the past will not come forward this year," McMillan said.
Councilwoman Mary Brabner said most officials realized that as the city and expenses grew, the practice would have to stop at some point.
"I hate to say it, but the banker in me is making me say this, but I think we knew that it was eventually going to have to happen," she said. "I think this would be the time if we were going to have to sunset it, this would be the time that we really needed to do it."
Councilman Carl Gustafson said the city is increasing the pay of employees with cost-of-living adjustments and other measures.
"We've got so much coming at us," Gustafson said. "It has to come to an end at some point and we've got a lot of things like the mayor talked about. There's a lot of expense coming out with cost-of-living increases and things like that that now it seems like it's the most logical time to pull that Band Aid, but I don't want to diminish our appreciation for employees and what they've done. That certainly does not diminish that at all."
Councilman Curt Smith said that if the city planned to stop the supplements, employees need to know as soon as possible so that they will not be expecting the extra income.
"This is awful tough because I know how much people count on things and getting at Christmas time and something you've seen in the past but at the same time, I do think as a governmental body that needs to be responsible with our spending of taxpayer money," Smith said. "I think that the right thing to do is to compensate our employees fairly, to do everything we can to attract good folks and to keep them and I think rather than what is really arbitrary. It's taken a vote every year, that I've been on the council to approve this."
Councilman J.R. Smith said the council has to balance spending and income and costs are increasing.
"When we started off the work session, we were talking about the projects that we've got going on and this one's three times the cost and that one's over double the cost," J.R. Smith said. "We're not sure if we're going to be able to move forward with projects because of the cost that we're having to spend to put out there. So, it's time for checks and balances and I think this is one that has to go ahead and sunset."