By Amanda McBride The Choctaw Plaindealer
The next mayor of the Town of Ackerman will make $18,000 less after the Board of Aldermen approved to reduce the mayor’s salary in their September 4 meeting.
Discussing elected official’s salary structure was in the agenda for that meeting.
Ward 2 Alderman Tommy Curtis opened up the discussion by stating, “I feel like the mayor’s salary is way out of line. That’s my opinion.” Mayor Dick Cain said he agreed when compared to other cities.
Curtis then handed out a copy of a comparative of mayors’ salaries for other towns similar in size to Ackerman. The board discussed some of the cities on the list stating some mayors are paid $20,000- $30,000 less than Ackerman’s mayor.
The current mayor’s salary is $48,236 which includes $200 per month gas allowance.
Cain said he did not have a problem and asked for the aldermen’s suggestion.
Alderman at Large Carl “Barney” Phelps agreed that the salary is “a little higher” and asked if the job was still considered part-time. The job is considered part-time.
Curtis said the change in the salary would not affect Cain. The new salary would begin with the next administration.
Ward 3 Alderman George Rooks asked for Cain’s recommendation for the mayor’s salary.
Cain said he would not set his own salary and reminded the board that two years ago they approved a raise.
Ward 1 Alderman Willie Miller asked if everyone on the board voted for the mayor’s current salary.
Cain told him that all aldermen had voted when the raises were given two years ago.
Rooks suggested $30,000 as the new salary.
“30,000 or so looks like that would be very comfortable,” said Rooks.
Phelps said that “looks like a generous amount.”
Cain then asked the board, “Do ya’ll have a clue how much money we have put in the bank since I’ve been mayor? How much in grants?” He continued “$473,000 in the bank above expenses since I’ve been mayor .” Curtis then made the motion to set the mayor’s salary at $30,000 to begin next term. Phelps seconded the motion. Rooks said that amount includes the $200 monthly gas allowance.
Miller asked the board to take more time before approving the change.
“This just jumped on the table. Can we think about it? It just hit me,” said Miller.
Cain called for a roll call vote. All approved except for Ward 4 Alderman Dale Reid who abstained from the vote. The salary change was approved. Cain then asked if the aldermen were going to change their salary.
“What about the alderman salary? Are you ready to go back to 1997 where you put the mayor’s salary?”
Curtis stated, “Leave it like it is.”
Each alderman for the Town of Ackerman makes $4,929 a year ($410 per month).
The Board of Aldermen then discussed a salary increase for the Town of Ackerman employees for the 2012-2013 fiscal year. The raises would begin October 1.
Reid asked for the mayor’s recommendation of a three, four or five percent raise.
Cain suggested a three percent increase then discussed the differences of money how much each percent would be since they took the elected officials out of the raises.
Reid said he thinks the employees should get a raise since they did not get on last year.
Phelps suggested at least a three percent raise.
Rooks made the motion for a three percent raise with a second from Phelps. All approved the raise.
The Ackerman Board of Aldermen also approved the annual library contribution of $1,200 and the tax levy for the 2012-2013 fiscal year at 50 mils (43 for the general fund and 7 mils for interest and sinking).