Gilbert: Council salaries should be cut in FY 22-23

Councilman Trapp: ‘I Don’t Think That’s Legal.’

WINNSBORO – Fee increases, adding new positions, and cutting council member salaries are among the last minute alterations under consideration in Fairfield County’s proposed $41.3 million budget.

But it was an existing budget item that would fund Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office raises that’s giving at least one council member heartburn.

At a budget work session Monday night, Council Chairman Moses Bell questioned why the proposed budget includes $59,000 for sheriff’s office raises, but not for other county departments.

Bell directed much of his frustration toward County Administrator Malik Whitaker.

“We gave them an extra bonus this year, and then on top of that they’re getting regular raises,” Bell said. “[The sheriff’s office budget] went up 3.4 percent when we took 10% from everyone else, from the departments. I don’t know how you did that.”

Whitaker said the sheriff’s office is different because most employee salaries are linked to rank. He said as deputies and corporals are promoted to sergeants and lieutenants, their salaries increase accordingly.

“It’s just two different systems from my perspective,” Whitaker said.

Whitaker offered to restructure the budget to not include raises, but Bell signaled he’ll probably still vote for the budget as presented.

“If council is OK in doing this, I’m OK. But I don’t understand how their budget increased $159,000 when we have department budgets decrease.”

No votes were taken during Monday’s work session. Third and final reading of the budget is tentatively scheduled for Monday, May 23.

Fee increases

From the outset, the 2022-2023 proposed budget has called for a 10 percent cut to all county departments.

The budget also freezes spending at 2021-2022 levels.

To help compensate for falling revenues, county staff rolled out a series of proposed fee increases.

Fairfield County Airport plans to increase its overnight ramp fee from $40 to $50.

The Clerk of Court plans to institute a $25 recording fee for any plat.

The coroner’s office has requested to increase autopsy report fees from $250 to $300.

Parks and recreation, the following fee increases were proposed:

  • Tackle Football – Increase from $20 to $35
  • Baseball – Increase from $20 to $35
  • Softball – Increase from $20 to $25
  • Gymnastics – $25 monthly fee for ages 6 and up
  • Afterschool – Increase from $30 for first child and $15 per additional child to $35 and $25, respectively
  • Summer Camp – Increase from $45 for first child and $25 per additional child to $60 and $30, respectively
  • Boykin Rec Center – Removed fitness room fee

Fairfield County Public Works is also planning to charge $125 per eight-foot stick of concrete culvert per personal drive to cover rising costs of materials, said Finance Director Anne Bass.

Motions List

Council members also developed a draft motions list, which traditionally consists of line items requested by individual council members.

One motion of note proposed cutting council member salaries by 10 percent per member.

Councilman Clarence Gilbert, who proposed the idea, thought it was only fair given the cuts being made elsewhere.

“We’ve asked every department to help with cuts, but we as a council haven’t done anything to make cuts in our budget,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert’s idea, though, didn’t seem to gain traction. Councilman Tim Roseborough chuckled while Councilman Mikel Trapp said he didn’t think the idea was legal.

“Check to make sure that’s legal. I don’t think it’s legal to do that,” Councilman Michael Trapp said.

Trapp also recommended increasing spending from $10,000 to $15,000 for a County Council newsletter.

Other items added to the motion list include:

  • Funding for a deputy director at the Fairfield County Detention Center
  • Funding for another corrections officer at the detention center
  • Adding a full-time custodian at the new county administration building
  • Reopening county recycling centers on Monday
  • Providing a $21,000 match for the Transit Department

Comments

  1. Marcus Polk says

    As leaders, Council members should be willing to set the right example and take a 10% pay cut as they are asking all other departments to do.

  2. Jeff Schaffer says

    Clarence
    Made promises when he was elected and he is only of 2 of those people who kept it and is, in my opinion, honorable and really wants what is in the best interest of the citizens of this county. The other person Is Doug Pauley.
    We now have 5 self-promoting incompetent fools…Operating with your tax money and they just spent 12 thousand dollars to mail out a to all the citizens a flat out lie. it’s their interpretation of what they want you to think not what is really happening.

  3. NamedEMT says

    Fairfield EMS has been over funded for a number of years. Comparing salaries with bigger.faster paced much higher populated areas and increasing salaries exorbitantly to overcome the management teams multiple failures to ease the appearance of chronic short staffing and shutting down of stations on the daily. Human Resources and other high ranking county officials have been apprised numerous times of this perilous situation and yet do absolutely nothing to right the ship. Fairfield county is a complete money pit that is so wasteful it’s sad and borderline ignorant.

  4. Buck says

    Notice the articles are free ads for those who this paper supports and negative articles out of the papers favor.

Speak Your Mind

*