Mayor, council raises unlikely

By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Pay raises will be on the table for Tupelo elected officials at today’s council meeting even though most of the council opposes them.
By law, the council must act on any changes in compensation for the mayor and council more than 90 days before the general election. Any changes wouldn’t go into Effect until the elected officials begin a new term in July.
If the City Council doesn’t approve a raise for elected officials Monday, it means the council and the mayor won’t be eligible for raises until 2017.
“It won’t be fair to the next group to not give them some kind of increase,” said Ward 7 councilman Willie Jennings, who asked that a 3 percent annual raise for the council and mayor be placed on the meeting agenda. The current salary is $16,932 for the council members and $92,200 for the mayor.
Four of the six council members present- Markel Whittington, Jim Newell, Nettie Davis and Mike Bryan – expressed clear opposition to any raises, particularly since no raises are budgeted for city employees this year.
“I think serving on the council is a privilege,” Whittington said.
Between 2003 and 2009 fiscal years, the council received an annual 3 percent raise. During that time period, city employees received annual raises between 3 and 5 percent except for the 2004 fiscal year when they received no raise.
Since the 2010 fiscal year, the council has received no raise. City employees received one 3 percent in the 2012 fiscal year.
For the current 2013 fiscal year, there is no raise budgeted, but if sales tax collections grow by more than 3 percent, the council has previously signaled its intention to reconsider. City Clerk Kim Hanna said the most recent figures suggest the sales tax collections have grown nearly 2 percent.
michaela.morris@journalinc.com