Laurens City Council amended and approved second reading of an ordinance Wednesday that will give the mayor and council members pay increases.
The amended ordinance will grant $100 monthly increases for council members and the mayor.
The original ordinance asked for $300 increases across the board in monthly stipends, which would have meant increases of 75 percent ($400 to $700) for council members and 50 percent ($600 to $900) for mayor.
The amended ordinance for the $100 increases passed by a vote of 4-2. Alicia Sullivan, Sara Latimore, Johnnie Bolt and Sylvia Douglas voted for the ordinance; Mayor John Stankus and Martin Lowry voted against it. Councilwoman Marian Miller was unable to attend the meeting.
Council also voted 4-2 along the same lines on Latimore’s motion to amend the ordinance, which was seconded by Bolt.
“I thought the first (ordinance), asking for $300 was way out of reach,” Stankus said. “These people do work hard; they answer a lot of calls. If you don’t believe it, go with me to Wal-Mart.
“But I’m happy with the outcome.”
The pay increases will go into effect after Tuesday’s municipal election.
A sitting council cannot approve pay increases for itself, only for the next or future elected councils, said Laurens City Administrator Gary Coleman.
Coleman said if council had not addressed the pay increase prior to Tuesday’s election, it would have to wait until the next election cycle in 2019 to consider a pay increase.
About a dozen people attended the meeting, but only two citizens spoke during the public-comment portion of the meeting, and both said they felt the original increases proposed in the ordinance were excessive.
“I’m just concerned that a raise like this will hurt the public perception of our city council,” Patsy Adams said during public comments.
Read more about this in this weekend’s Advertiser Extra.