Hard work is needed and appreciated and should be rewarded, Magnolia aldermen said Tuesday when they approved pay raises for every full-time city worker.
Salaried employees and department heads will receive an increase of 3% and hourly workers will receive an increase of 5.5% in their respective rates of pay.
Mayor Anthony Witherspoon suggested providing for a cost-of-living adjustment to employee salaries in order to remain current with inflation, saying employees should receive a living wage. He provided potential cost estimates for a 3% raise across the board, which would run about $35,000 per year, or a blanket 5.5% raise, which would cost about $48,000 per year.
Those figures do not accurately reflect the true cost to the piecemeal approach aldermen ended up approving and don’t reflect required matching funds to the state’s retirement system.
The topic of a raise was introduced by an earlier item on the agenda to approve a wage increase to $35,568 for the city deputy clerk, municipal court clerk, public works supervisor and assistant police chief positions to satisfy new U.S. Department of Labor regulations. The board approved the item unanimously.
That discussion blossomed into what became a motion to increase pay for full-time city employees across the board.
Alderman Joe Cornacchione said hourly workers such as police, firefighters and public works employees were long overdue for raises.
The board seemed to agree, voting unanimously to approve a 5.5% increase for full-time hourly workers but not salaried employees.
After some discussion it was determined that aldermen hadn’t understood which workers would receive a raise when they initially voted. Several said they weren’t aware of the details of the proposal.
The board moved to amend the original resolution, adding on a 3% raise for city employees on salary. That vote passed 4-1 with Cornnachione voting against.
The increases take effect in January.
In other business, the board:
• Paid Griner Drilling Service Inc. $70,302 for the removal of a faulty pump, the installation and removal of a rental pump and the installation of a new pump at the Croft water well.
• Paid Scarbrough Construction of Roxie $37,763 for work on the Farmer’s Market Pavilion project.
• Approved the purchase of a 2006 Ford F-150 pickup from Andrews Ford Inc. of Tylertown for $4,500 and a 2004 Ford F-150 pickup for $6,400 for the Public Works Department.
• Approved the purchase of a 2007 Ford Explorer from The Trading Post of McComb for $4,900 for the fire department.
• Approved the purchase of a 2019 Dodge Ram 1500 quad cab pickup from Landers Dodge of Southaven for the police department.
• Approved rental of the Pike County Community Safe Room facility on Quinlivan Road for $1,200 for the Mardi Gras Ball on Feb. 21.
• Approved travel plus mileage and per diem for the mayor, city clerk and aldermen to attend the Mississippi Municipal League mid-winter conference in Jackson in January.
• Approved travel plus mileage and per diem for city employees Menton Durham, Terrell Bell, Ke’Darius Osbey, Alex DeSalvo, De’Andre Shropshire and Eric Jones to attend chemical spill training in Hattiesburg this month.
• Paid attorneys Miller & Miller of McComb $500 for work to update and produce the city’s employee handbook.
• Set a nuisance property hearing for 5 p.m. Dec. 3 at 5 p.m. for the properties located at 405 First St. and 401 Price St.
• Transferred $67,148 from the utility fund to the general fund as a reimbursement for payments made from the general fund for a backhoe the city estimates is used 80% of the time for water- or sewer-related services.