Manila City Council OKs employee bonuses

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Manila City Council members voted 5-1 at the regular July meeting to give full time employees a lump sum bonus of $1,200 and part-time employees a five percent one time bonus.

The no vote was cast by Councilman Tony Hawkins. Hawkins said he personally liked the way salary increases were done last year. Last year full time employees received $100 a month across the board and part-time employees received five percent.

Manila Mayor Clifford Veach had asked the council to consider giving bonuses instead of raises at last month's meeting.

Councilman Dwight Booth made the proposal to give the lump sum of $1,200 instead of spreading the bonus money over 12 months.

"If we go with a bonus instead of raises we could bring the full time employees into a retirement program that will grow," Booth said. "I'm talking about the regular employees, not the police and fire because they have a pension."

Under Booth's proposal, the city would contribute 10 percent of full time employees' salaries into a state retirement fund beginning in January.

Booth distributed a salary schedule to each council member showing the figures on the expense of the retirement contributions saying bonuses and enrolling in the retirement program will save the city money over giving raises.

Councilman Gaylon Gammill said he liked the idea of a 10 percent retirement for employees.

Mayor Veach said it is going to be hard to keep coming up with $25,000 to $30,000 a year.

"Revenues are just not that good. They are better this year, but I don't know how long that will last. I've never been one not to give increases if the money is there. The employees are the backbone of our city and none of them is overpaid. A lot of organizations use the bonus system or a combination of both. As long as I'm involved I'm going to try to save enough money to take care of them," Veach said.

Councilman Hawkins asked if anyone had talked to the employees and asked if they are interested in the retirement program.

Mayor Veach said since the retirement will not begin until January, the council has time to make that decision later.

Manila Chief of Police Jackie Hill gave the monthly property clean-up report.

"In my opinion, the city of Manila is cleaner than I've ever seen it. I can see results," Veach said. "I appreciate the council and the residents in their efforts in the clean-up project."

In other business:

*Mayor Veach said 20 gallons of Mosquito Barrier have been sold to residents. We are averaging one a day. The city is allowing residents to purchase the mosquito spray at half price.

*Mayor Veach updated the council on a 75/25 grant for a new agri hangar. He reported he had talked to the engineers and it will cost around $150,000. He will have more concrete information next month. He also informed the council that bids for the taxiway project at the Manila Airport (100 percent grant funding) had been advertised and bids would be opened at 11 a.m. Aug. 9.

*The council reviewed the budget by departments.

"My summation is we are running along pretty good this year. We've been flanked a couple of times but still going good," Veach said.

*Mayor Veach said he had been contacted by a law firm about contracting to collect old fines for 30 percent. It will not cost the city anything if they do not succeed.

"They seem to be successful where other people fail," Veach said.

Attorney Wayne Wagner said the fines on the book are the ones that are hard to collect. "Chief Hill, the deputies and the judge do a good job in community service and going out and getting what they can. With this service the pressure would be off the city," Wagner said.

Veach said they would have more information on that at the next meeting.

*A request was heard by Lifetime Medical owners to purchase their business property. The council voted to give Mayor Veach the authority to sign the deed for the appraised amount after Manila Industries meets and agrees to sell the property.

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