In a jam-packed Warner Robins city council meeting that touched on a number of hot topics, arguably the biggest was next year's budget.

Mayor Randy Toms opened the floor for public comment on the Fiscal Year 2020 budget. The document details how the city will use nearly $110 million of public funds.

Not a single person in the packed audience volunteered to share their thoughts on the budget, so Toms closed the hearing.

However, he later told 13WMAZ he's generally happy with the budget and sees the increased resources it provides for law enforcement as a win for the city.

"Right now, we were able to put in that half a million dollars by tightening the belt [and] finding ways to cut," he said.

If passed, the proposed budget will provide an additional roughly $500,000 for officer salaries as part of an incentive system Acting Police Chief John Wagner says is designed to help the department recruit new officers and retain the ones they already have.

"Brand new officers will see that that they'll have a little bit more as well as officers that are already with us will see a boost in salary as well," said Wagner.

According to the Acting Chief, under the proposed budget brand new officers would make a little under $16 an hour. After hitting several early career checkmarks that typically happen in an officer's first year, they'd bump up to about $17.50 per hour.

Wagner called it "a shot in the arm for the police department."

One big topic that was not on the agenda? The future of Perkins Field, a Warner Robins park where developers have proposed building an affordable housing complex.

Mayor Toms said it's not official yet, but based on conversations with city council it looks like a done deal.

"I think there's still some paperwork waiting to come in and I think the status is that project's still going to happen," he said.

Other highlights included a vote to raise city council's salaries.

It's a cause Councilman Clifford Holmes has pushed for months.

He argues city council's current salaries are less than other city councils' in similar cities and says Warner Robins council should each get a roughly $5,000 salary boost. That would take their annual pay to about $10,000.

The pay raise was initially voted down by council about a month ago, but Holmes vowed to try again.

Monday night, council voted on the pay raise again.

This time, it passed.

"I thank the support of the citizens," said Holmes. "I thank the support of the elected officials in this region."

Councilmen Daron Lee, Larry Curtis, Clifford Holmes, and Mayor Toms all voted in favor of the raise.

Tim Thomas was the lone dissenter.

He said afterwards what's done is done, but he stands by his earlier argument that city employees should get a raise before council does.

Council members Carolyn Robbins and Keith Lauritsen were not present at the meeting.

The ordinance will go into effect in early 2020.

Councilman Larry Curtis also came away victorious on an ordinance he's backed for weeks.

City council voted unanimously to adopt an ordinance that would designate Warner Robins a 'certified city of ethics.'

As 13WMAZ reported earlier, a certified city of ethics is a designation from the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) reserved for cities that pass a specific ordinance for handling ethical complaints against elected officials. 

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