Warner Robins City Council heard a presentation about the city's pay study from Valdosta State University.

Robert Yehl is a professor there and presented the study on Monday night.

He said the city's pay scale is competitive with the other cities it was compared to, but that there were some problems.

He said salary compression was a serious issue that was leading to excessive turnover and lower morale with employees.

Salary compression means city employees with years of experience are sometimes making the same or a little bit more than brand new employees.

Fire Department Chief Ross Moulton says he hasn't seen lower morale, but it is getting noticed.

“I think firefighters have a heart for what they do and so I haven't seen that as much as he discussed. But they do understand that there's a, that they haven't been given merit or step raises for many years now,” Moulton said after the meeting.

Moulton was not alone. There were more than 10 other Fire Department employees there to express their support of adjusting the pay scale.

Yehl said it would be expensive to fix. He said one estimate had it costing $1.2-1.6 million for the next fiscal year.

Council members said they wanted to review the study and did not take any voting action Monday night.

Yehl also said the city’s benefits package was comparable to other cities in the region, but the retirement plan was “far above” what private companies or other communities offer.

The Council also held a public hearing on the proposed 2018 budget.

Only two citizens spoke at the hearing. One emphasized his desire for the city to pay more attention to public safety and make tangible changes to funding for the police and fire departments.

The other speaker said she wanted more streetlights in the city to make it safer for pedestrians at night.

Warner Robins also approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Joint Development Authority of Peach County to purchase 432 acres of land.

The agreement is worth $2,400,000. Councilman Tim Thomas said it would help increase economic development for the city and Peach County, because they would have large pieces of land ready to offer interested companies.