Earle council passes slashed budget

Cuts include reduced council salaries — for some

By Mark Randall news@theeveningtimes.com

Six out of eight city council members have agreed to take a salary cut in order to help Earle balance its books entering 2016. The city council approved the 2016 budget which included about $36,000 in cuts. At last month’s meeting the city had to cash in a $50,000 certificate of deposit to pay its bills for the rest of the year. Council salaries have been a contentious issue for years with citizens. Elected officials are paid $200 a month plus a $748 a month stipend. During budget meetings Councilmembers Robert Malone, Donnie Cheers, Charlie Young, Jimmie Barham and Kenneth Cross all agreed to take a $348 a month pay cut. Councilman Bobby Luckett agreed to a $200 a month salary cut. Councilmembers Sarah Johnson and Jesse Selvy did not agree to take a pay cut. According to City Clerk Cynthia Johnson, the salary cuts will save the city about $24,000 a year. The city council also removed funding to attend this year’s Municipal League meeting, which trimmed about $6,000 from the budget. Councilmembers can still attend the meeting, but will have to pay their own way. City employees will also be required to pay a portion of their health care insurance. The council approved requiring employees to pay 25 percent of their insurance premiums. In the past, the city had paid 100 percent of the premium costs. In all, Conner said the council made about $36,000 in cuts. “We went through the budget line-by-line,” Conner said. The budget passed 6-2 with Johnson and Cross voting no.

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