Mayor's pay should be higher
Forty-two thousand dollars is a lot of money. It's higher than what the average Alabamian earns but on par with what mayors across the state earn.
It could also be the salary of the next mayor of Hartselle. And though the raise – $12,000 to $42,000 – is a huge one, it's time for to Hartselle pay the piper when it comes to its mayor.
Consider this: Hartselle paid its former City Administrator $68,124. With benefits and a car allowance, his total salary package increased to $87,375. When the city opted to terminate his contract, it left no one to do some of his duties.
Much of this responsibility fell to the city clerk. The council, recognizing the change in this job, is looking at increasing the pay for this position.
The rest of the responsibilities, however, will fall to the mayor.
However, Hartselle's mayor is considered only a part-time position. This probably comes as news to Mayor Clif Knight, who receives part-time pay for his full-time job.
Knight is retired and is able to devote his time to the job. The next mayor – whomever it may be – may not be able to do so and the city would suffer.
With a salary of $42,000 and health benefits, the mayor's job becomes a viable post for many local business people. And there is plenty for the person to do. The next mayor of Hartselle must dedicate their time to economic development and growing the city's retail base. They must navigate the tricky waters of the Hartselle City Council and, because the city has passed the magic 12,000 population threshold, must do so without being a voting member. The next mayor must sell the public on some form of additional revenues for the city, whether it comes in the form of a sales tax or property tax increase.
The timing of proposal is bad. For months, Hartselle residents have heard nothing but doom and gloom about the state of the city's finances and its future. However, with the savings from the city manager change and with an eye on growth, this raise would be an investment in the city's future.