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A potential raise for a city employee disputed ahead of Auburn budget vote

POSTED: August 31, 2014 12:00 p.m.

A potential raise for an employee will be a point of contention for Auburn city leaders as they plan to vote on a budget Thursday.

Auburn officials will vote on the proposed $3.8 million budget at Thursday’s city council meeting, however prior to that will have to decide if they’ll give a $3,000 raise for a new events coordinator. Council members briefly debate the merits of the raise and the impact it could have on the city during a public hearing for the budget last week.

Councilman Bob Vogel said he wanted to add $3,000 in salary for Charlotte Ewing as the Public Works Administrative Assistant also takes on duties for coordinating events. Ewing is taking over that role as city officials are expected to move the Parks & Leisure Department under the umbrella of Public Works.

Ewing’s current salary is $38,000, according to city records.

Councilwoman Dorissa Shackelford said that other employees deserve raises.

"If we do that, there are several other jobs that we need to look at (giving) raises," Shackelford said.

Councilwoman Peggy Langford said Ewing deserves the raise because of the added responsibilities and that other employees have received 2.5 percent raises in the last couple years.

Shackelford said that increasing Ewing’s salary would put her salary ahead of some department heads.

"If you proceed with that you’ll see a mass exodus," Shackelford said.

The proposed budget includes a $2.8 million general fund, which is 1.7 percent lower than the 2014 fiscal year. Auburn’s 2015 fiscal year budget of $3.8 million is nearly $1 million lower than its 2008 budget. The lower budgets are in part due to a change in the net property tax digest from $151 million in 2008 compared to $103 million in 2012.

The city is projecting there will $242,000 more in revenue than expenses in water.

"The revenue is higher than it was last year because of the fund that are coming in from Autry Pines," City Administrator Ron Griffith said about the new apartment complex.

The city also has no plans to increase the millage rate in the Barrow or Gwinnett County portions of the city. Additional health care costs will be passed onto the employees.

Mayor Linda Blechinger said last week that she was disappointed that the city had not been informed of what the projected property tax digest figures are looking like.

"(It’s) the end of August, we have nothing from Barrow County—that’s ridiculous," she said.




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