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New mayor, new council = pay raise?

With four of its five members freshly elected, the Peachtree City Council this Thursday will talk about giving themselves a pay raise — double their current pay.

On the agenda is the possibility of restoring pay increases for the mayor and council members that would double the mayor’s salary from $9,000 to $18,000 a year and council members pay from $6,000 to $12,000 a year.

A full year of the pay increase for council members will cost the city $33,000 and would come from the city’s fund balance, which council has long planned to spend down this year as it has risen to nearly twice that of the recommended amount: equivalent to 20 percent of the annual budget.

The pay increases were approved in 2007 but put on hold in the budget before they could be awarded in 2010, and they have gone unfunded in each subsequent budget year.

Now that the city has turned the corner financially with a surplus at the end of the 2013 fiscal year and provided cost of living raises for employees in the current budget year, staff is asking if council wants to consider restoring their raises.

At a workshop meeting Jan. 9, new Councilman Mike King said he supports the salary increases and would advocate for their passage.

“I say to the public if I’m not worth that amount of money then fire me,” King said. “I honestly believe this council will prove our worth 10 fold in the next two years before I can consider running again.”

Prior to the salaries being raised in 2010, on paper anyway, they had remained the same for the previous 22 years, according to a memo to council from City Manager Jim Pennington.

Councilman Eric Imker is the lone holdover council member. Kim Learnard was elected to a new four-year term in November. At the same time, Vanessa Fleisch, previously a council member, was elected to a four-year term as mayor. Terry Ernst won a four-year slot in November, his first run at elective office. And Mike King stepped into the remaining two years of the four-year slot vacated by George Dienhart, who resigned in an unsuccessful run for mayor.

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Comments

Lets think this thru

Fayette County
Budget $75M
Chairman paid $29,666
Commissioners paid $23,352

PTC
Budget $30M
Mayor Paid $9K wants $18K
Council Paid $6K wants $12K

I don't think I have a problem with pay increase if we want to compare apples to apples. Council theoretically does the same as commission but just on a smaller scale.

I don't doubt the men and women on council work hard and are worth the money. But I do take some offence to Mr. Kings stance so early in his tenure.

It's obvious that you take offense to many things and to think--how dare Councilman King have the audacity to actually tell citizens what he supports at such an early stage in office!

NUK_1's picture

[quote=AtHomeGym]It's obvious that you take offense to many things [/quote]

You got that right, 100%. It's getting tiresome to say the least.

Tiresome? Bored (yes, b-o-r-e-d for the spellchecker experts, not board) and annoyed? So what else is new with you?

How many fish did you catch today?

in the real world, you prove your worth and then get the pay raise. Consider running again? And who's to stop anyone from that? Run every two to four years till forever. Doesn't mean there is a w at the end.

H&F,

I am "thinking this thru"...

"Fayette County
Budget $75M
Chairman paid $29,666
Commissioners paid $23,352

PTC
Budget $30M
Mayor Paid $9K wants $18K
Council Paid $6K wants $12K"

Board of Education
Operating Budget $162M
SPLOST Budget $32M
Board member paid $6k/yr

This is a community service job, not a revenue source for my family. It is actually a revenue drain!

Maybe we should cut all politician salaries (local, state, & national) to zero and only pay for expenses incurred while doing the people's business.

I will throw that idea out there and see if that sparks any outrage. :)

Barry Marchman

CombatCorrespondent's picture

I agree that the Mayor/Council (and BOE Board Members also) should probably be better compensated for the amount of time required to do the job, however ...

In the words of my old Marine Corps Drill Instructor, "Gentlemen, you weren't drafted! You volunteered!"

Did you folks that ran not check out the compensation BEFORE running? If you did and ran anyway, then you went into it knowing what you were getting into and I say thank you for your commitment to community service.

If you ran without investigating the compensation beforehand, you are pretty dumb for taking a job without finding out what it paid first, if pay is a concern for you.

If you think your time is worth ten times what the job pays, then perhaps you should not wait for the voters to fire you and should instead seek employment where your talents will be more appreciated and compensated at a level more to your liking?

Another option would be to stay on the job for six months to a year or so and then ask the boss (voters) for a raise so they have a chance to see that you really are worth the raise?

Michael Clifton
www.kombatkamera.com

[quote=DrB]H&F,
Maybe we should cut all politician salaries (local, state, & national) to zero and only pay for expenses incurred while doing the people's business.

I will throw that idea out there and see if that sparks any outrage. :)

Barry Marchman[/quote]

?

Thanks for sharing the BOE info. I should have looked that up too before I said anything. Blogs such as this are good for discussion.

If you would have agreed with my logic, you could have used this to gift yourself a hefty raise, but you just had to justify your pay with civic duty. Lol. You my friend, just raised the bar.

Would like to discuss more with you. I work close to Ga Tech. Can I treat you to lunch one day soon?

Still on board now.

Mr. King's comments might be "bold" for a new board member, but it's a breath of fresh air to have someone so convicted to say that he's going to do his job as best as he can, and to vote him out if you're not happy.

I have no idea as to how many hours the council puts in. Let's say it averages out to 90 minutes a day, every M-F, for the year. That would mean currently the council is making $15.38 per hour (1.5 hrs per day x 5 days x 52 weeks) = 390 hours, $6,000 / 390 = $15.38 per hour). That's peanuts. I'm all in favor of doubling it. I know no one gets into small town politics "for the money", but I personally wouldn't want to put in the hours and put up with the headaches that the mayor and council have to put up with.

That wasn't liked too well, for various reasons.

I think the raises are do, but the quoted council should have been someone with more than 2 months experience. I would have differed to Ms. Learned.

The word is 'due', not 'do' and you don't get a call on who chooses to quote who! And do you mean 'defered'. You may not like it, but your choice of words and spelling detracts considerably from credibility.

I'm using a handheld phone which auto "incorrects" at times without spellcheck.

I voted for Mr. King and want him to succeed. He brings common sense. He was asked a question about the pay and I agree that an increase is "due". He is now in the public eye and will eventually need to use some diplomacy.

Perhaps it would have been taken better had it been phrased. I have only been on board 2 months and now see the time each councilman spends to fulfill our duties, and believe an increase is appropriate at this time. He doesnt need to match Gov. Christys (NJ) bravado on this issue and challenge people on this.

tgarlock's picture

Yes, absolutely, overdue and still not enough to compensate for time, effort and grief endured.

However!

Real leaders take care of their people first before taking care of themselves. We PTC citizens should not forget that PTC employees have gone for 5 long years without a pay raise since money was tight, and this year they received a measley 2% raise. Personally, I'd like to see city leadership deal with that issue first before dealing with their own compensation deficit.

Terry Garlock

Terry Garlock

I bet some of those workers feel the same as council "they are worth 10 fold what they are paid"

that PTC has experienced more than 5 years of neglect of facilities, decreased revenue, use of cash reserves and the need to take on more debt, lots of debt.

The decision(s) to forgo the increase was warranted. Is the city budget capable of absorbing this increase going forward without the use of cash reserves, a steady stream of increased revenue and no longer using debt to fix what has been neglected?

Is this added expense a top priority of whatever expenses need to be added to the budget now that there might be an increased flow of revenue? Two new council members and 100% pay increase in the first months?

A measley 2% raise? What, pray tell, was it supposed to be so that it is not labeled "measley"? 4%? 5%? More?

Since no one knows the results of the payroll study for all staff that is currently being done, why is that issue not being brought forward first? Or, does this council just put themselves at the front of the line when it comes to an increase? Or is this city management doing you get me our raises, and I will find a way to get you your raise?

Pinewood has not even opened it's doors, no one, even the most clairvoyant of budget gurus knows the impact on this city. Everyone cool your jets and step back from the money trough. The stampede is just a little embarrassing.

G35 Dude's picture

[quote]Real leaders take care of their people first before taking care of themselves. We PTC citizens should not forget that PTC employees have gone for 5 long years without a pay raise since money was tight, and this year they received a measley 2% raise. Personally, I'd like to see city leadership deal with that issue first before dealing with their own compensation deficit.[/quote]

Amen. And on the county level many BOE employees make less today than they did 5 years ago. Who takes care of them? If they are not more than 180 day employees they aren't even getting the measly 2% that you refer to.

You can't use logic with an illogical person.

PTC Observer's picture

Here's my two cents.

Do the council members run for office for the pay?
Do we need to increase the incentive to get qualified and energized candidates?

If the answer to these questions is, no. Then why do we need to increase their pay?

When a public servant takes a job and they know the pay on the front end, why should they have the "right" to increase their pay after accepting the job? Why do they spend money on their campaigns? Is there some math in the payback for the investment in running? They know what the pay is for the jobs they are seeking.

Now, if the citizens vote to increase their "servants" pay, I am ok with it. However, without a referendum on the issue of council members pay, well then it is a bit suspect in my opinion.

As to county employees they should be paid based on market pay for similar jobs in the Fayette County area. That shouldn't be a difficult thing to determine for a good HR department. If the county is not competitive, then we should have an unusually large turnover in county employees. Do we?

PTCO

People should be paid on the value they add, not how many hours they work.

I tend to lean toward Mr. Garlock's position on this matter.

I'm not saying that the Mayor and Council should not receive additional compensation for the value they add.

I still can't for the life of me how in good conscious we can continue to lose $700,000 a year on Kedron and no-one does anything to fix the problem. Some say it's a benefit to our High School(s)...then let the BOE fund the pool not the citizens (taxpayers) of PTC. Folks, over a 10 year period council cost the taxpayers over 7 million dollars and that doesn't include the interest. Really, are you kidding me!

How irresponsible can a city government be? Less than 3% of PTC citizens use this facility. When are we going to wake-up? You cannot justify the cost because not one person moves to PTC because we have a swimming pool.

Can't we use the $700,000 somewhere else?

People should be paid on the value they add, not how many hours they work.

I tend to lean toward Mr. Garlock's position on this matter.

I'm not saying that the Mayor and Council should not receive additional compensation for the value they add.

I still can't for the life of me how in good conscious we can continue to lose $700,000 a year on Kedron and no-one does anything to fix the problem. Some say it's a benefit to our High School(s)...then let the BOE fund the pool not the citizens (taxpayers) of PTC. Folks, over a 10 year period council cost the taxpayers over 7 million dollars and that doesn't include the interest. Really, are you kidding me!

How irresponsible can a city government be? Less than 3% of PTC citizens use this facility. When are we going to wake-up? You cannot justify the cost because not one person moves to PTC because we have a swimming pool.

Can't we use the $700,000 somewhere else?

You don't like the pool being owned by PTC.

if Peachtree City owns a pool. The problem I have is that it costing taxpayers $700,000 a year to keep it open. It is irresponsible because there is no inherit value to having Kedron. In other words...there is not an increase of home values because of Kedron and home values would not decrease if it went away. Therefore there is no way to justify the loss.

The fact is if you don't change with the times you get eliminated. Rec pools are out-dated...especially in up-scale communities.

I would much rather lose (as a tax-payer) on a cultural and performing arts center because it adds inherit perception of value. It shows some level of culture and sophistication and not that we are stuck in the 80's.

I just can't comprehend that we are okay burning through $700,000 a year...year after year...after year.

You seem to care a great deal.

about the pool, if it made sense I would say keep it, but it doesn't. I care about the money and the loss thereof. It's a waste!

We could take $700,000 of the taxpayers money, put it in a pile, burn it and it wouldn't be any different. Do you think the citizens would care then.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Subsidizing that would make the $700k for the Kedron pool look like a bargain - and that pool is a complete waste of money. I am confident King and Ernst will get on that right away. Hope they have a third vote to kill that expenditure.

Many have tried for cultural arts center with ECCA for 30 years, even the YMCA and finally we have Legacy Theater which is fine and meets the needs of the county.

Live free or die!

I agree, for the most part, but if Legacy is making it on their own than imagine what kind of asset/venue we would have if it was funded by the city to the tune of $700,000.00.

I was just comparing the two (pool and cultural arts center) as to which would add the most benefit.

It's interesting, several of the places I lived (Colorado & California)that offered such venues had higher home values and a better overall demographic than the surrounding adjacent cities. I'm just sayin.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

Yes indeed, if you have $700,000 to waste - waste it on something highbrow. Unfortunately we are not the type of people that would actually support something like that. We talk a big game in PTC and have a bunch of nice houses that we are struggling to hold onto. Simply do not have extra money for upscale things and certainly not for donations, charity or fundraising no matter how noble the cause.

Why don't we just close the pool, send the Legacy folks $100k a year so the city can have 6 or 7 events there and pretend it is ours. That would save $600,000 and we would have a faux Arts Center. Simple solutions for complicated problems.

Live free or die!

and the third and the fourth and the fifth ad infinitum and ad nauseum.

MY TMITE...apparently you are okay throwing away good money after bad. So if it's okay with you how about you pay my tax liability for the Kedron pool? Then we should be good.

DAR- apparently you are more than able to pay your own bills so you don't need my assistance. But, your one-note song is getting ridiculous, and from other posts, I am not the only one who thinks so. So, here's an idea--suck it up and accept the fact that you did not get the Kedron pool, the Kedron pool is here to stay and no amount of your bad-mouthing it is going to change that situation. You are going to give yourself ulcers if you don't get over your obsession with the Kedron Facility. DISCLAIMER: That is my layman opinion, since I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV or on this blog.

Yes there is you in about two others. If you research there are just as many whom begin to wonder why our government would allow the taxpayers to take a $700,000 bath year after year. Do your research...I have never ever wanted the pool. Where do you people come up with these ideas....it is simply a money pit.

What you somehow call bad-mouthing are simple facts. I think the pool is fine if the BOE wants to help pay for it, or if the county wants to help pay for it. The difference is I don't want my hard earned taxes to go toward an avenue that has absolutely no benefit to the tax-payer. The fact that you don't mind throwing away taxpayers money speaks volumes. Maybe if you spent $50,000, $75,000, $100,000 or more just in annual county taxes (like some people) you might not want to see those dollars wasted. The fact that I give it a second thought offends you and thus somehow speaks volumes....bet your not one who pays much to the county.

You may be very surprised that the Kedron Pool may not be here to stay for as long as you think.

NUK_1's picture

The bubble and anchoring system and all the replacement work was paid for by city bond for improving city facilities. You can close Kedron tomorrow and the City isn't going to suddenly save 700K/year. The bond still has to be paid off whether or not Kedron or the pool is open. You can bemoan the past decision-making, but the bond indebtedness is still there whether or not it's open.

It was financed under a 10 year bond a couple of years ago. Bond has to be paid whether it's operating or not. You know this....you're a successful businessman and not stupid. I ALMOST feel like you are deliberately trying to de-value Kedron as much as possible publicly so you can maybe come along as the white knight and buy it on the cheap, but maybe that is just the cynical side of me.

rolling stone's picture

An excellent plan, deal with an issue where doubling the compensation brings it up to a minimum amount, the first actual increase in 25 years and only restoring what was already passed. I like it.

Gort's picture

What? A 100% increase! That rate would make a loan shark blush!

If council members can’t make ends meet on what the job pays, let them take a second job, or apply for food stamps like other low wage workers do.

(The new mayor has nice nails, she may already be on food stamps, who knows?)

Besides, what are they going to do if you don't let them have it, shut down the golf cart paths? (Heh! Heh!)

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote Democratic.

Hey Gort, maybe your retirement has hindered your concentration--not your city,not your county, not your call. Take a day off.

Gort's picture

AtHomeGym, pardon me, I didn’t know you promoted yourself to ‘vigilante blogger border patrol agent.’ I’ll try to be more careful in the future, I wouldn’t want you to pull out your ‘double barrel spell checker on me.” 8 - )

BTW, I don’t know how you can say Peachtree City isn’t my city. I worked there for years, I shop there, eat at various restaurants, in fact all of my families traffic citations come from Peachtree City.

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote Democratic.

Boy, guess you told me! Damn near made me want to pick up my Webster's and slink off--but not quite! And yes, if you routinely slaughter the language and hose up words, chances are very good that I'll nail you!

Gort's picture

AtHomeGym, keep your spell checker dry and fire when ready! No harm intended,.. I hope no harm was taken,.. just having a little fun on “The Citizen.” 8 - )

Remember: If you think Social Security and Medicare are worth saving, vote Democratic.

re: council member raises. The only thing I have to say is all knew what the pay was when they ran for office. I think there are many other places this money is needed so much more. Drive around our community and see how it compares with PTC ten years or more ago. We look run down and a little seedy and in the need of some TLC.

SPQR's picture

why pay an elected official anything other than a token amount if they already have significant wealth. Work it out a like school lunch program.

rolling stone's picture

Considering what elected officials experience in PTC, twice the proposal would be a token amount in my opinion. As it is, the pay raise comes out to just under a dollar a year per capita. It's a good thing their pay is not based on love offerings.

Hi Dar:

It is interesting that Arts Center was one of the push questions on the visioning survey, but more to the point.

Coweta and Clayton both already have arts centers. How many more does our side of town need? I will also submit that Spivey Hall (Clayton) has done zero for home values. It can be a cherry on top for a quality place, but not a driver of value.

As far as Kedron I agree it should not be a gaping $700k hole but when looked at in the context of the recreation budget does it provide value. We have youth basketball there. I play volleyball there. Our children have summer camp there.

PTC has a strong recreational culture in the community so isn't Kedron a hub of that culture?

Take Care,

Neil

First of all I would like to applaud you for using your name to write on the blog.

I understand your positioning (arts center in Cowetta and Clayton)but the real question is on city level. What kind of a city to you want to have? What kind of a city do you want to be?

If you/we truly want the bubble than all should stay in the bubble. Yes...some would say I'm suggesting an elitist community (Mr. Brown has accused me that in the past)and at some level I am. Yes, that is what I want, people who expect more, want more, and are willing to pay for more. We are a planned community with cart paths, a village concept, etc...we (Peachtree City) have to raise the bar. You want to attract people and companies with money, who are willing to spend money in our restaurants and stores (look at our latest retail tax numbers, they are down). Peachtree City has one of the highest if not the highest per capita income in the sate of Georgia...start acting like it and watch home values increase and added benefits to the tax payer.

There are many who think PTC is so great...it's simply because they have not seen other city's similar in size that make us look 40 years behind schedule.

Ultimately, you/we (the citizens) have to decide what we want our city to be...that is really the question. We will either raise the bar or go backwards. We have to have amenities that attract the cliental we want to attract. Trust me, no one we want to attract to our city cares less about a 20 year old rec pool...they laugh at it.

In closing, in reference to the two places you mentioned Cowetta and Clayton)their per capita income is no-where close to PTC and they have these amenities and we don't WOW! It's embarrassing!

You want to live in Beverly Hills...you have to pay for Beverly Hills. The problem we have in PTC is people want to live in Beverly Hills but don't want to pay for it.

If you expect more you have to pay for more...but don't expect excellence when your not willing to pay for it.

First of all I would like to applaud you for using your name to write on the blog.

I understand your positioning (arts center in Cowetta and Clayton)but the real question is on city level. What kind of a city to you want to have? What kind of a city do you want to be?

If you/we truly want the bubble than all should stay in the bubble. Yes...some would say I'm suggesting an elitist community (Mr. Brown has accused me that in the past)and at some level I am. Yes, that is what I want, people who expect more, want more, and are willing to pay for more. We are a planned community with cart paths, a village concept, etc...we (Peachtree City) have to raise the bar. You want to attract people and companies with money, who are willing to spend money in our restaurants and stores (look at our latest retail tax numbers, they are down). Peachtree City has one of the highest if not the highest per capita income in the sate of Georgia...start acting like it and watch home values increase and added benefits to the tax payer.

There are many who think PTC is so great...it's simply because they have not seen other city's similar in size that make us look 40 years behind schedule.

Ultimately, you/we (the citizens) have to decide what we want our city to be...that is really the question. We will either raise the bar or go backwards. We have to have amenities that attract the cliental we want to attract. Trust me, no one we want to attract to our city cares less about a 20 year old rec pool...they laugh at it.

In closing, in reference to the two places you mentioned Cowetta and Clayton)their per capita income is no-where close to PTC and they have these amenities and we don't WOW! It's embarrassing!

You want to live in Beverly Hills...you have to pay for Beverly Hills. The problem we have in PTC is people want to live in Beverly Hills but don't want to pay for it.

If you expect more you have to pay for more...but can't expect excellence when your not willing to pay for it.

I didn't answer your question in entirety.

I ran a pro-forma model on recreation about 3 years ago. Right or wrong, my belief should be based on supply and demand. For example...soccer programs should be paying less based on their direct cost and baseball programs should be paying about $60.00 per participate based on cost or said another way supply and demand.

The number one problem we have here in PTC is people (powers to be are 20 years behind schedule). Is there a benefit to the basketball courts and volleyball courts at Kedron? I'm sure there is, but at what cost?

If we use this logic than the first thing we should build is an "ice rink" for the sole reason the closet rink is 60 miles. However, when you mention the word "ice rink" citizens come unglued! All the while the only people (for the most part) that are moving to the greater Atlanta area area are from the northeast and mid-west. There are two more rinks opening on the north side of Atlanta simply because the current rinks can't keep up with the demand. So where do you think most of the Northwest employees moved to when they moved here from Minnesota...you guessed it...where there was ice.

I'm not saying build an ice rink, but using the logic that people use recreation and specific recreation is a cost to the city. I'd build an ice rink before anything. Again, let me make it clear that I'm not saying that is the correct thing to do but using the city's logic, it would be the best thing to do. Hope you get my point.

So I hear the PTC Council approved the 100% raise for themselves last night. I don't have as much heartburn about that as I do the $70,000 traffic study which is a total waste of money.

Hoping that we get double the effort, since we get what we payed for.

Are you stating that the pool costs the taxpayers $700k a year or is that for the complex.

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