Batesburg-Leesville, SC (WLTX) -- A Lexington County town council has come up with a way to give the town's full-time employees a raise...and it's all being done without raising taxes.
After being presented a balanced budget, with no increase in pay for town employees, a member of Batesburg-Leesville town council suggested giving up their own pay to give town employees an increase.
"To me, I always felt that my service to the town should be volunteer, just like my service to the church," said Mayor Rita Crapps.
The eight council members make $4,000 a year, while Mayor Crapps has a $6,000 salary. If approved, it would leave $31,000 for the 53 full-time employees. The town council's decision to forfeit their pay will give the employees a 1% cost of living increase. Mayor Crapps said that's to make up for lost wages due to the pension bill signed by the state.
The remaining funds will then be placed into a merit pool, where employees could receive additional pay increases based on performance evaluations.
"Staff is the engine that runs the train. When the engine doesn't work, the train goes nowhere. Those in leadership ought to be willing to sacrifice to keep staff running and happy," said Mayor Crapps.
The council members will still be able to spend $1,500 each for travel and training, but Councilman Charles Simpkins is against the idea.
"Taking money from the Council, in my opinion, will leave a negative taste in the mouths of some council members, including myself," he said.
Councilman Simpkins said taking away the Council's pay will eliminate the ability for Council to get adequate training.
"The town should at least show Council that there is an appreciation for their service."
Instead of using the remaining funds for a merit pool, Councilman Simpkins suggested giving the employees the 1% increase and the rest go to the town council.
The Council could change their minds about eliminating their salary, but the majority say their decision is set.
If it passes, it will take effect July 1.