“Some things have come up and I told you we were going to have to make some hard decisions,” said Mayor Wayne Willis at the council’s work session. “We’re not broke, and I wouldn’t call things dire, but it’s a concern and we can’t coast by on what we’ve been doing.”
Willis proposed replacing overtime pay with compensation time off, cutting volunteer firefighter compensation pay from $10 to $5 per call, and eliminating non-mandatory training for city employees that required out-of-town trips or overnight stays.
“If we’re going to move forward and be progressive, we’re going to have to make changes,” Willis said. “I’m trying to be creative.”
Public Works Director Joey Conger, fire Chief Brian Bunn and police Chief Wayne Bush all raised concerns about what might happen with cutting all overtime hours.
“I can’t say come Thursday nobody will walk out,” Conger said. “I’m not saying they will, but I just don’t know.”
Conger said he requires certain workers to be on call for the weekend, which pays the worker $70 as well as overtime pay for any call they take.
Bush also asked Willis if department heads would be required to fill in on scheduled time if city employees had already worked 40 hours for the week.
Throughout discussion, Willis reminded the council that no decisions would be made unless the council voted on them, and said any final decisions were “always flexible.”
After time ran out for the work session, the council agreed to postpone the discussion about budget cuts. Willis said the council will have to make a decision soon if it hopes to fund future proposed projects including improvements to the park behind City Hall and resurfacing Jacksonville Street.
In other business, the council:
• Approved a resolution for preliminary engineering and resurfacing parts of Main Street, Astor Street, Cedar Springs Road and Alex Road.
• Approved the construction of a utility building behind City Hall to store public works vehicles.
Staff writer Brian Anderson: 256-235-3546. On Twitter @BAnderson_Star.