The Washington City Council gave unanimous approval at Monday’s meeting to the first reading of a trio of ordinances setting the pay for all elected and appointed employees of the city. Those ordinances basically lay out a 3% increase for everyone who works for the city.

“I thought 3% was very fair,” said Councilman Blake Chambers, who made the motion to read all of the ordinances. “These employees work really hard. I do know that from my eight years of being on the council. I don’t go out and check on them daily, but it looks like they do a good job. I’m all for it.”

“With our health insurance not raising a lot either, it afforded us in the budget to give the 3% raise,” added City Council President Allen Brown.

The ordinances centered on three groups of employees. One was for police and fire. Another for the remaining non-elected employees in the city and the final ordinance was for elected officials. Under it the mayor is paid $2,521.02 bi-weekly; the clerk-treasurer $2,305.56 every two weeks and the city council members each will receive $246.42 every two weeks. The pay will be one-half from the general fund and one half from utilities.

The elected officials are also receiving a 3% raise. “I don’t think you would want to cut anybody out, even if it is an election year,” said Brown. “In my opinion you shouldn’t base your salaries or raises on whether it is an election year. The elected officials work as hard as anyone. They shouldn’t be skipped over.”

The pay ordinances are due to be finalized in two weeks at the next city council meeting. Getting the pay scale set is an important first step toward the approval of the budget for 2020. “We get these salary ordinances out of the way and we will start to advertise for the next year budgets,” said Brown, who presided over the council meeting in the absence of Mayor Joe Wellman. “We’re going to come in pretty good on our budgets for next year. We don’t have all of the final numbers yet, and there may be some more items cut out of the budget, but I think we will be in really good shape.”

In other business the council approved a budget transfer within the parks and recreation department budget of $5,000 to allow officials to purchase a vehicle. The council also passed a state mandated ordinance for a method for the city to deal with a building permit where he might have a conflict of interest.

Finally the council approved releasing $53,000 in grant funds for the expansion of the PACE facilities on the west side. The total bill for the day stood at $183,000 but PACE is covering the extra cost. Michelle Carrico with the Southern Indiana Development Commission, who is overseeing the grant project, says it appears the project is 27% complete. “It is making good progress now,” said Carrico.

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