Leland mayor says he won't sign budget

By The Associated Press

LELAND — The Leland Board of Aldermen this week approved a $6.14 million budget for its 2012-13 fiscal year.

But The Delta Democrat Times reports Mayor James Lowe says he won’t sign the budget because he objects to several raises for city employees.

The budget includes a $71,494 increase in the city payroll for the next fiscal year.

Lowe says economic conditions do not justify the raises.

“With the economy the way it is all across the Mississippi Delta, it’s inappropriate to give those types of raises at this time,” Lowe said. “They’re blessed to even have jobs at this point with the unemployment rate so high in the Delta.”

He says he doesn’t think street and sanitation department’s performance merited increases in salary. The street department’s total payroll increased from $109,902 for the 2011-12 fiscal year to $119,726 for 2012-13.

“The proof is in the pudding,” Lowe said. “I can take you around town right now and show you the inefficiency and waste. I can show you potholes that I told them about three weeks ago and grass that’s not waist high, but shoulder high.”

The board also approved the hiring of two first-class police officers, Clint Young and James Cole. Interim Police Chief Scott Tarpley said he has three vacancies remaining in the department.