- Special Sections
- Public Notices
The City of La Grange’s budget for the 2008-09 fiscal year passed after Monday’s second reading, but the vote was a close one.
The council voted 4-3 to approve the budget. Council member Debbie Pollard was absent.
After the budget was read, Councilman Jason Taylor had a number of questions. Among the items he questioned were administrative salaries, employee insurance and money allotted for paving.
Taylor said the budget shows one 20-hour-per-week administrative position with an hourly rate of $10.50, which would equal a total of $10,920 a year. He said according to the budget, the proposed annual salary for that employee was only $5,460 – half of that amount.
Mayor Elsie Carter said the reason for the smaller amount is because the salary is for a part-time employee, which Carter said if needed, can work up to 20 hours per week, but is only used as necessary.
Taylor questioned changes in administrative salaries, which he said showed between a 1 and 18 percent increase over last year’s amount. He asked if there was an evaluation process to calculate the amount for the increase.
Carter said a raise was given to Stephanie Cooper, the current city clerk mid-year. Cooper was previously working as bookkeeper, and took on other responsibilities, including the city clerk and treasurer jobs.
Carter said this budget brings the clerk’s salary up to what the previous clerk was making. She said it is the median for fourth-class cities.
Council member Lucy Ricketts worked on the budget and said it is a “guesstimation to go by.”
She said work began on the budget in January, and the committee does not scrutinize everyone’s salary.
“We look at everything as a whole,” she said.
Employee insurance was another issue Taylor brought up for discussion, as he said the budget showed employee insurance for police and public works only increasing 10 percent, while administrative employees insurance increased by 125 percent, he said.
Carter said with the employee plan, employees are responsible for a certain amount. After that, they go into what’s called an 80/20 plan. They receive a card that helps with medicine, deductibles or co-pays.
Taylor asked why $100,000 was budgeted for paving this year, as only about $3,000 was used for paving in the last fiscal year, with the same amount budgeted. He said he wondered why the rest of the amount that was overbudgeted could not be used for something else.
Carter said that money could only be spent on roads or sidewalks.
“We try to spend it every year, sometimes we don’t get to,” she said.
She said this year’s paving budget will be used for Main Street improvements and improvements on Gleneagles Way.
Council member Jean Knight had concerns as well. She said the $15,000 allotted for gas and oil for the public works department would not be enough this year, though it was the same amount allotted for 2007-08. With the increased prices of gas and oil she said she didn’t know how that amount would be enough.
Carter said the public works department will economize and adjust to deal with the rising gas and oil prices and she believes they’ll spend close to the same amount as the previous year.
Council members Faith Brush, Joe Davenport, Lucy Ricketts and Wally Nay voted to approve the budget. Jason Taylor, Jean Knight and Tad Humble voted against it.
E-mail us about this story at: firstname.lastname@example.org