The issue of a salary increase for the seat of mayor in Martin raised some debate during a formal session held Monday evening by the city’s board of mayor and aldermen.
Currently, the salary is set at $54,000 a year. According to Martin City Recorder, there hasn’t been a salary increase in eight years and if one is not proposed or passed, it would be another four years before an increase could be proposed.
Alderman Johnny Tuck said when comparing Martin to other cities comparable in population, the average salary range is the $70,000s.
He said he had no problem allowing a mayoral salary increase, he just didn’t agree with the timing.
“I’m not opposed to it. I’m just not opposed to it being brought up before the qualifying deadline,” Tuck commented.
Martin Mayor Randy Brundige is seeking re-election in November. He is running unopposed on the ballot.
Based on population, taxpayers in Martin pay an estimated $4.89 each year for the mayor’s salary, according to Tuck. Under the proposal from $54,000 to $65,000, taxpayers would pay $6.18 each.
“I have no problem with that, but I do have a problem with city employees not getting a raise in the last two years,” Tuck added.
“We also have to consider there are differences between Martin and let’s say Dyersburg, for example, because we have a university. Each year we have an influx of about 6,000 people coming into the city because of UT Martin,” Alderman David Belote shared.
While the proposal passed on its first reading, Aldermen Bill Harrison and Johnny Tuck voted against the ordinance to increase the mayoral salary.
A public hearing on the issue is set for 5:15 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 11 in the city hall courtroom.
A proposal to increase the salaries for the city’s aldermen failed for a lack of a second to the motion.
Aldermen currently make $500 a month or $6,000 a year. There was a proposal to increase the salary to $7,200 a year or $600 a month.
“When I became an alderman eight years ago, I had no idea that it was paying position. It is part-time. We are not full-time city employees. I have witnessed first-hand the job that the mayor does. I think the salary increase is comparable to the job that he does,” Belote explained after the meeting.
In other news, the board accepted a low bid from Marbury Construction Company, LLC of Denmark (Tenn.) for the K Street sewer installation at $57,196.
Other bids included Barstow Construction, Inc. of Huntington at $74,900 and Revell Construction Co. Inc. of Union City at $75,085.
Public works director Billy Wagster announced the asphalt program should continue this week. Paving preparations have been made to Peach and Raven streets for re-surfacing. Wagster said two streets were pulled from the paving list because of flooding issues that might occur if the streets were not milled before they were re-surfaced. Those projects would be considered later.
Courtright Road to the Hwy. 43 by-pass was added to the re-surfacing project.
After a request by Harrison to consider a portion of Cooper Street for re-surfacing, Wagster said it could be added to the list.
Building inspector Billy Stout announced the construction has begun at Williamsburg Landing off of Hawks Road as well as the fertilizer plant beside the Weakley County Co-op.
The framing is also in place for the new Dollar General store located off of Main Street.
Wagster commented that he was proud to see that the construction foreman, Tyrone Hawks, at Williamsburg Landing was someone local. Brundige added that many of the materials are also being purchased locally for the subdivision.
Belote applauded everyone who had a role in making the 17th Annual Soybean Festival a success.
“The festival was over at midnight Saturday for the public and by Monday morning, you couldn’t even tell there had been a festival,” Belote told Wagster.
Parks and recreation director Brian Moore reported there were 58 participants in the first-ever disc golf tournament over the weekend. Moore also announced the paved walking trail at the Harmon Field park is being used and people are complimentary of the trail.
He said his goal was to have a small pavilion out there for families or organizations to use for a day out.
Martin Police Chief David Moore said the renovations to the south portion of the police department are nearing completion. The conversion from city hall to police station is being done in-house by the police department.