At their first full meeting of the new year, the Peachtree City Council gave themselves a pay boost, doubling their salaries.
The restored pay raises for the mayor and council members will cost the city $33,000 a year.
The raises will 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.
Councilman Terry Ernst noted that the city employees got a pay raise this year and got bonuses the two previous years, so he felt it was time for council to restore the salary increase for mayor and council.
Councilman Mike King added that when council raised the salaries several years ago, they had good reason to do so, adding that the city will have a study this year on the compensation package for all city employees.
“It’s not that any of the five of us up here need the money so to speak,” King said. “It’s more reimbursement for service and if you want to hold it against me that I make $1,000 a month, like I said before … If I’m not worth it, fire me in two years, it’s as simple as that.”
Councilman Eric Imker said the news last month that the city’s unaudited budget figures for last year ended $977,000 to the good instead of the projected $700,000 dip into cash reserves, was enough reason for him to approve the salary increases for mayor and council.
The new five-year financial model now shows no millage rate increases and includes money to invest into public works for cart path and road maintenance, Imker added.
“I don’t need the money, but I think I’m worth more than a couple of bucks an hour for my time,” Imker said.
The pay increases were approved in 2007 but were put on hold in the budget before they could be awarded in 2010, and they have gone unfunded in each subsequent budget year as the city has clamped down on spending, including the elimination of city landscaping crews who were replaced by contract services.