Imker: Never have I supported raises for PTC Council members

I do not and have never supported a pay raise for myself as a city council member. So don’t bunch me in with those that do.

The previous council (2007) authorized the pay raise from $6,000 to $12,000 per year for council members. By choice, I and others have decided to keep the job pay budgeted at $6,000.

I understand the implications of budgeting for all city paid positions. When the economics turn around, then and only then will I consider pay increases.

Businesses understand the economics of either going bankrupt or saving their companies by cost-cutting moves, which includes foregoing pay increases. I will do my best to see that government will not, under my tenure, be an exception.

Last week I said I’m holding a budget meeting at City Hall on Saturday, Jan. 30 at 2 p.m. I welcome those with an interest in our future city budget to come out and share ideas on cost-cutting and getting this budget mess we’ve been left with under control.

I step into the city council position and find out — holy cow! — we’re nearly $3 million in the hole already for next fiscal year (FY2011) and about another $3 million for FY2012. Do you folks realize what that means?

It’s worse than last spring when council had to fire 27 folks and buy a landscaping contract to do some of the work less expensively.

Some folks have asked if this is an “authorized” meeting. Do you really think I need approval to ask the citizens what they think about the budget? Of course not. No one muzzles me. If I want to say something, I’ll say it.

You just went through 10 months of me telling you I speak my mind. I sure hope this isn’t a surprise to anyone.

Each member of the “team” (city council) is their own person and will do things to prepare themselves for issues the way they see fit. This is my way on this issue — THE most important issue for the city.

Folks say, why don’t you do this at the city council retreat. My answer is, I’m trying to prepare for council retreat. Retreat is a two-day public meeting that includes the current year financial status of the city. Council provides overall direction for the next year’s budget process.

I want to have ideas for moving forward at this meeting and not wait to start developing them at this meeting. Ideas will include direction regarding millage rates, programs to be added or eliminated, capital expenditures to be budgeted and, most importantly of all, personnel costs.

Eric Imker

City Council, Post 1

Peachtree City, Ga.

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