A reluctant few comment on PTC Council pay hike

Tue, 08/07/2007 - 4:38pm
By: John Munford

Public gets one more shot at input Aug. 16; council likely to vote at same meeting

If any Peachtree City residents are upset about the mayor and city council perhaps doubling their salaries, they had a funny way of showing it at last week’s council meeting.

At first no one stepped to the microphone to speak for or against the proposal. Councilwoman Cyndi Plunkett, who is supporting the salary increase, practically begged the few citizens in attendance for input.

“Does anybody care?” wisecracked Mayor Harold Logsdon.

Eventually a small handful of residents addressed the Peachtree City Council Thursday night about a potential doubling of the salary for the mayor and council members. But no one was overly critical of the concept, which Plunkett said would encourage more people to run for office.

One resident said he’d prefer to have the city extend the benefits to council members than are currently afforded to city employees, such as medical insurance.

Several residents said they wanted to make sure Council takes care of raises for the city’s police officers and firefighters. Plunkett said now that the city has adopted its budget for the coming year, council can study the public safety salaries in further detail.

The salaries for mayor and council, currently at $9,000 and $6,000 respectively, have not been changed since 1985.

Responding to a question from a citizen at last week’s meeting, Plunkett noted that since 1985 the city has raised police officer salaries more than the cost of living index. Had the cost of living index simply been followed, officers would be earning just under $25,000 but in fact the current starting salary for an uncertified police officer is $30,942, Plunkett noted.

Plunkett added that although the city was going through budget meetings in June which skewed the meeting times a little as opposed to the average month, the council spent more than 28 hours in meetings alone.

That figure “does not count the 175 emails I responded to or the phone calls I returned, which I don’t keep up with,” Plunkett said.

Councilman Stuart Kourajian noted that the proposed salary increases are in line with the average mayor and council salaries of the other 11 cities of similar populations compared to Peachtree City.

Kourajian said he thought the proposal was reasonable but he thinks the city should phase in the increases between 2010-2012.

Council is expected to vote on the matter at its Aug. 16 meeting after conducting a second public hearing on the matter.

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