Council approves pay raises for employees, officials

Columbus city employees and elected officials would see a raise of 1.5 percent under a plan adopted last night by Columbus City Council.

The city’s financial director, Jamie Brinegar, explained that the city essentially has to plan for next year’s raises now, even though revenue estimates won’t be in for more than a month. However once a budget is set and reviewed by the Bartholomew County Council the city can go back and lower the numbers if needed, but it can’t raise them.

Councilman Frank Miller voted against the pay raises as a protest against the lack of revenue figures.

The pay raises were criticized by three audience members who have become frequent critics of Mayor Jim Lienhoop’s administration. Glenn Petri suggested that it was unseemly to give raises to city employees when seniors in the community are not receiving more money to pay their tax bills. Dave Jones suggested that the raises were too high compared to the rate of inflation, which he suggested was also overestimated by city officials.

The final pay for next year doesn’t have to be approved until October.

At the end of the meeting, Jones asked for permission to read a letter into the record criticizing Council President Frank Jerome for a joke Jerome made on Facebook about an apartment fire. Jones suggested that Jerome resign or be censured by the council for the remark. There was no action or council discussion of Jones’ demands.