Two ordinances that would lower the salaries for Bauxite City Council members and for the mayor were tabled in a regular council meeting Monday night.
In an email to Bauxite aldermen, Mayor Johnny McMahan explained that he believes the current salaries for the alderman and for the mayor are too high based on the number of residents in Bauxite. The mayor provided a list of comparable aldermen's and mayors' salaries from similar sized towns in Arkansas.
Currently, Bauxite aldermen are paid $175 per month and the mayor receives $865. McMahan proposed reducing the aldermen's salary to $50 per month and the mayor's salary to $740 per month.
The city of Tull has a similar population of 448 residents compared to Bauxite's 487. McMahan noted that the Tull mayor receives $600 per month and that the aldermen serve without pay.
McMahan also stated that former Bauxite mayor Gary Duncan addressed this issue in a July 19, 2010, meeting of the council. The official meeting minutes read: "Mayor Duncan said he has been doing the water and sewer clerk job and feels we need to hire someone so they can be trained. He suggested one way to help pay was to reduce the mayor's and council members' pay by 40 percent. Mr. Ramsey (former alderman Ronnie Ramsey) said he would only agree if all elected persons agreed to a 40 percent cut in pay. The recorder/treasurer (Brenda Hendrix) said she would not agree to a cut."
A 40 percent cut in pay would have reduced the council members' salaries to $105 per month and the mayor's compensation to $519 per month.
McMahan noted that "a salary reduction of $125 of each council member's salary would leave an extra $7,500 in our general fund; lowering the mayor's salary would help out an extra $2,750 for a total of over $10,000 that we could use in other places."
During the council meeting, McMahan stated, "The town of Bauxite is going to face some financial issues in the next couple of months."
He said that he believes this salary reduction would be one way to help the town through difficult financial times. Additionally, he noted that the salary changes would not go into effect until Jan 1, 2015, and thus would not affect any of the current representatives.
McMahan said the salary reductions might allow Bauxite to hire a new employee. Currently, Bauxite does not have an employee to fill the position of recorder/treasurer.
Alderman Mona Struble stated that, "If we pass this, it should affect us." To reduce the salary, all council members and the mayor must be willing to take a voluntary pay cut.
Alderman Brenda Haney said the council should consider a possible ordinance related to aldermen who do not attend meetings.
McMahan agreed that this should be discussed and said he believes that aldermen who do not attend the monthly meeting should not be compensated for that month.
McMahan stated that one of the reasons he vetoed the appointment of Adam Kampbell to the vacant council position related to absences.
"Adam missed six council meetings the last year he was in office (2012) including November and December after he was defeated in November 2012. One time he was working in his yard and didn't attend a meeting, but he always showed up to collect his $175 monthly check."
McMahan said, "I'm willing to take $125 less. Are you?" Struble responded, "Not and put up with you."
Ordinances to reduce the salary of the aldermen and mayor will be discussed at the July council meeting.