Lanett mayor, council would be among county’s highest paid with pay increase

Published 8:00 pm Friday, April 19, 2019

LANETT — Under a proposed salary increase, the mayor of Lanett would go from one of the lowest paid mayors in Chambers County to one of the highest, and the city council would also receive a $500 bump in pay. It would be the first salary increase for the mayor or council since 1988.

During Monday night’s Lanett City Council meeting, the first reading of an ordinance was held to increase the salary of the mayor from $350 a month to $1,500 a month and the salary of council members from $200 to $700 a month. Council members who attain certified municipal officer status from the state will be paid an additional $50 per month, with the chance to earn $50 more per month with advanced certification.

The proposed salary wouldn’t go into effect until October 2020, until after a new council is elected, according to current Lanett Mayor Kyle McCoy.

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“This is not for this council,” McCoy said. “This will be going into effect in 2020 when the new council takes office.”

McCoy said a raise for the next council would bring the salary up to the standards of other mayors and councils in the area. The Valley Times-News requested financial information from nearby cities.

Valley, which has a population of about 3,000 more people, is paying Mayor Leonard Riley $1,000 per month and the council $800. Roanoke, in Randolph County, with a similar population to Lanett, pays Mayor Mike Fisher $1,500 and two of its councilpersons $700 because they have certified municipal officer status. The other council members, without certified status, receive $500.

The city of LaFayette did not respond to the newspaper’s request for financial records.

McCoy said he has responsibilities some other mayors do not, such as overseeing the utility department, and signing all paperwork that goes to the Alabama Department Environmental Management and other reporting agencies.

McCoy told the Valley Times-News Monday night after its meeting that he typically spends 20 to 30 hours a week in the mayor’s office, taking care of city business. If he were to hire a city manager to handle the day-to-day business of the city, he said that position would probably require a salary of more than $100,000.

West Point is the closest city with a city manager to Lanett. West Point’s population is approximately 3,500 and pays Mayor Steve Tramell $425 a month and its council $250 a month, according to city documents. However, City Manager Ed Moon has a salary of $114,444.

McCoy said Alabama law allows the preceding council to make the adjustment in salary for the following council, but it is not allowed to give a raise to a seated council. He also said there would be no added pressure for incoming council with the raise because the mayor and council are already doing the job that is reflective of the proposed increase.

“I don’t think it is enough for what they have to do,” McCoy said of the council’s current pay. “And for the time that each individual puts into it.”

McCoy said the salary adjustment has to be made at least six months before an election, and it has to be voted on and approved by a preceding council.

The council is expected to vote on a second reading of the proposed ordinance at its next meeting at 6 p.m. on Monday, May 6. If passed during that meeting, it would become effective on the first Monday in October 2020.