Warner Robins city council to hold meeting later on budget

Warner Robins council to hold meeting later on budget

The Warner Robins City Council still has not reached a decision on the 2018 budget and how to give public safety officers a raise.

The issue was raised again at Monday's city council meeting.

"Two weeks ago we started to try to make a decision. Last week, I got booed out of here when I said I didn't think it was going to start in January,” said councilman Mike Davis.

Opinions continue to be split on what the Warner Robins City Council will do to give public safety employees a raise like firefighters and police officers, but there is one thing they agree on -- that they need it.

"For the most part, we all agree that any one of the options available are viable, legitimate options. It's just a matter of how do you want to tackle it first,” said Mayor Randy Toms.

Valdosta State University did a study suggesting a plan to reward employees for staying with the city.

Now, city leaders are considering whether to raise the millage rate or pull money from their reserve fund to make it happen.

Mayor Toms says he suspects they will call a special meeting at the end of June to come up with a plan for the budget before the deadline on July 1.

"An ordinance can only be passed on the first reading if everyone agrees to wave the second reading, and everyone didn't agree, so we had to have a second reading on it. We'll either have to have a special called meeting or do it in the July 5 meeting,” said Toms.

Councilman Clifford Holmes says he thinks increasing the millage rate is the way to go to help give public safety officers a raise.

"To me, a cure for this salary thing would be a 1% tax mil increase. That would give us about 1.6 mills,” explained Holmes.

He says for this budget, he is not a fan of pulling from the reserve fund.
               
"We had about five or six months worth of operating expenses in reserve. We're now down to three months,” said Holmes.

Mayor Toms says the city is financially strong and it is the city council's duty to use that money to benefit the community.

That plan to give police officers and firefighters raises would also include getting five additional police officers.

"We want to fight crime. We want to let people know that we're not going to sit back and tolerate it. The only way we can do that is put more police officers on the road,” said Mayor Toms.

He says keeping the city as safe as it can be comes at a price.

The next time around, the vote will not have to be unanimous on the proposal. It will be a majority vote.

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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