Berryville council OKs 20% raise for mayor

Friday, November 23, 2012

BERRYVILLE -- The Berryville City Council voted Tuesday night to raise the annual salary of Mayor Tim McKinney by 20 percent -- from $20,000 to $24,000.

The vote was unanimous, and there was little discussion. However, Alderman Joel Gibson said he felt the raise was well warranted.

"I feel like you earned it," he told the mayor, "or we wouldn't have voted for it. You've done a good job."

The mayor's salary was last raised in 2007.

In addition to his annual salary, McKinney receives a $350 car allowance each month. On Tuesday, the mayor told council members this allowance would be reduced to help cover the cost of the raise.

"The net cost will be pretty much offset," he said.

Also Tuesday, council members doubled the compensation for members of the Berryville Planning Commission from $10 per meeting to $20 per meeting.

McKinney said commissioners had previously met twice a month. However, they now meet only once. As a result, the mayor said, their pay had been nearly cut in half already, and the annual compensation to the commissioners would not actually change.

That compensation is disbursed after the commission's last meeting of the year, and the change will affect this year's pay, as well as future years'.

"None of them are in this for the money," the mayor said, "but it at least gives them a little bit of spending money."

Council members also passed an ordinance changing the distribution of revenue from the 1 percent local option sales tax.

The first $17,000 of that revenue each month is pledged to pay for the city's sewer bond issue, and any remaining revenue is distributed among the various other city funds in a manner prescribed by ordinance.

Before Tuesday night's vote, 5 percent of that revenue went toward the city's water and sewer costs.

However, last month, the city refinanced the city's sewer bonds. This refinancing is supposed to save the city several hundred thousand dollars over the next two years.

McKinney said the city wanted to funnel these savings into the city general fund. Toward this goal, Tuesday's vote redistributed the 5 percent of revenue previously allocated to the sewer and water systems to the general fund.

Also Tuesday, council members voted to amend the city's personnel policies to make Veterans Day a city holiday once more.

City employees had not received the day off for several years, since voting to replace it with Black Friday to have a long weekend.

At Tuesday's meeting, McKinney asked council members to make both Veterans Day and Black Friday city holidays.

"I think everybody ought to have Veterans Day off," Alderwoman Cindy George said before the vote.

Gibson agreed.

"We've got a group of good employees," he said, "... and we can't do enough for them."

McKinney noted that it was hard to get anything done on Veterans Day, anyway. All other government offices are closed, he said, and no one is knocking down the doors at City Hall.

"We don't have 'em lined up at the door waiting to pay their water bills," he joked.

In other news, McKinney informed council members:

* The city budget should be completed by Dec. 1. The mayor said he was planning for a 3 percent raise for city employees.

* The condemnation of a Pritchard Street property that had generated complaints from neighbors is now complete.

* The bluffs at Johnson Springs were recently defaced by a spray-paint wielding hoodlum. "It's amazing that one fool with a paint can thinks he can improve in one hour what God did in about 2 million years," the mayor said.

He said he was considering offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of the painter. Anyone with information about the crime should call the Berryville Police Department at 870-423-3343.

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