"ABSOLUTELY": Council Eyes $90K+ Pay Raise

"ABSOLUTELY": Council Eyes $90K+ Pay Raise

By Marla Jones, Managing Editor • marla@southerntorch.com

PHOTO: Councilmembers Brandon Freeman and Marshall Stiefel square off on pay raises and insurance for the Mayor and City Council. (Marla Jones | Southern Torch)

RAINSVILLE, Ala. — The Rainsville City Council held its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, January 20. 

At the meeting, the Council discussed a pay raise for the next administration. The raise, which includes insurance benefits, would raise the Mayor’s salary to $2,000 per month and the Councilmembers to $800 per month. The last time the Council and Mayor received a raise was in 2008. 

“2008 was the last time the Council and Mayor saw a raise when it had a $2.8 million budget,” said Councilmember Brandon Freeman. “The raise won’t impact the Council now, it’ll be the incoming administration elected in August.”

When asked to vote on the proposed ordinance, Freeman stated, “I absolutely vote yes” [in favor of the raises.] “If you’re active in your department, you spend a lot of time there. It’s well-justified,” he added.

Councilmember Marshall Stiefel stated his opposition to the proposed pay hike.

“I have brought up tax cuts for citizens and pay raises for City employees on multiple occasions, and each time, I faced opposition because of budget constraints,” Stiefel stated. “After checking with the City’s accountant and the Mayor, with the proposed raises and health insurance plans for elected officials, the taxpayer would be on the hook for nearly an additional $90,000+ per year.”

“I think the money would be better spent on raises for our City employees,” concluded Stiefel.

Ordinances require unanimous consent on when first introduced and the measure did not receive unanimous support in the first reading and thus it failed to pass. Once an ordinance has been introduced, it can be passed and adopted with a simple majority in any subsequent meeting. 

During the work session, Kay Guffey requested $800 from the Council for “Trees in the Park,” a tree-planting operation that coincides with Arbor Day. Last year, the Council approved the planting of cherry trees last year and Guffey hoped to extend the planting into this year. 

Guffey also asked that February 22 be proclaimed Arbor Day in the City of Rainsville. All of Guffey’s requests were approved.

Pam Clay of the DeKalb County Economic Development Authority and representatives from Rainsville Technology Inc. (RTI) requested a non-education tax abatement for an over $6 million equipment expansion. The measure was passed by the Council unanimously.

City Engineer Sam Phillips addressed issues on Dilbeck Road concerning large trucks in residential areas. Phillips stated the City was meeting with the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) to request traffic route signs to be placed on the road.

In other business, the Council: 

• Approved four (4) credit cards for city use through WinSouth Credit Union

• Approved the purchase of Christmas lights in the amount of $6,000

• Approved a light bar for a fire department brush truck in the amount of $1,100

• Surplused a police department 2011 Chevrolet Impala

• Approved helmet testing for the pee-wee football program

The Council went into executive session to discuss the good name and character of a City employee. The session lasted less than 30 minutes and no action was taken.

The Rainsville City Council will be held on Monday, February 3 at 5 pm with a work session at 4:15 pm.

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