Italy City Council votes to discontinue mayor and council member salaries

In a called meeting Monday night, the Italy City Council voted to discontinue the salaries of the mayor and council members. By law this cannot go into effect until after their term expires. At present the mayor receives a yearly salary of $15,600. Each council member receives $600 yearly.

John Droll explained that in 2009 the council voted to pay the mayor $12,000 per year. Last year the mayor’s salary was increased to $15,600 per year.

“This is over $18,000 per year that we could use somewhere else,” said Steven Farmer. “I feel we should lead by example. We are hurting for money right now. It would be our way to give back.”

“We are public servants,” Paul Cockerham said. “Steven and I made a commitment to the citizens when we ran for council seats that we would not accept a salary. We have turned the money back into the city since we took office. I don’t do this for the pay.”

“I have been on the council for 20 years,” said Greg Richards. “We get $40 per month. That is not much. Our time and commitment is worth that.”

Frank Jackson stated he had been here since 1990. “My time is worth something. I think the mayor should get paid because he is mayor 24/7.”

“I feel we deserve a little for our work,” Rodney Guthrie said.

Cockerham, Farmer, Guthrie, and Richards vote to rescind the salaries. Frank Jackson voted against the motion.

The council also voted to keep City Hall open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and not close for lunch.

They discussed setting fees for wholesale water. Dean Carrell, Public Works Director, reported that presently the charge for 1,000 gallons of wholesale water is $1.50. He presented figures showing the actual cost for 1,000 gallons is $8.11.

“With these figures, last week when we sold water to South Ellis County Rural Water, we lost over $1,800 at our current rate,” said Steven Farmer.

Rodney Guthrie moved to increase the rate charged for wholesale water to $8.25 per 1,000 gallons. With a second from Frank Jackson, the motion was approved.

In the 2014-2015 budget, the Economic Development Corporation reduced the amount they pay the city from $9,600 to $3,600 per year. The council approved this amount with $100 per month to be paid to the person that prepares the paperwork, $100 per month for office expenses and $100 per month to go into the General Fund.

The council adjourned into Executive Session to deliberate the evaluation, employment, duties, discipline or dismissal of Dean Carrell and to deliberate the grievance filed by Teri Murdock. They reconvened into regular session after 1 ½ hours. They took no action regarding Dean Carrell and acknowledged the receipt of the grievance filed by Teri Murdock.