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Story Archives: Residents respond to aldermen raise
|Residents respond to aldermen raise|
Less than two months before the newly elected mayor of Winnsboro is to take his seat at the helm of the city, the board of aldermen passed a resolution to double the monthly stipend of each member from $150 to $300. Rex McCarthy proposed the resolution at a meeting of the Winnsboro Town Council April 19. McCarthy also serves on the board as Mayor Pro Tempore.
Several Winnsboro residents turned out for a public hearing Monday evening to voice their opinion on the measure to raise the salary of the town's governing body.
"I would like to publicly express my disagreement with doubling the per diem of the council members," said Winnsboro resident Marci Thompson. "This should be a job of service for the community. For the town to be fiscally responsible, it's not a wise decision to double the salaries."
Other residents pointed out that the salaries of councilmen in surrounding parishes were sometimes twice as much as the amount received by the local board.
"I know that $150 is not a lot of money," said alderman Craig Gill. "But something doesn't seem right about this body giving itself a raise. If this body wants to see an increase, which is due, perhaps this body should vote for an increase to begin after the next election. For us to give ourselves a raise, to me is just wrong.
Mayor-elect Jackie Johnson expressed his support for the board's decision and said the proposed compensation was "justified."
"We are long overdue for a salary increase," said councilman Rex McCarthy. Years ago, the alderman salary was set at $200. If we really look at this, we are not giving ourselves a raise. We're putting it back."
Council members passed a motion to accept the ordinance increasing the monthly pay for the board of aldermen of the Town of Winnsboro to $300 per month. Members voting yes to the measure were Rex McCarthy, Rosemary Davis and Betty Johnson. Councilmen Craig Gill and Richard Mahoney voted 'no.'
Ms. Jackie Johnson, daughter of Mayor-elect Jackie Johnson, of the Franklin Parish Black Achievers addressed the council on behalf of the concession stand renovations at the baseball field near Westside Park.
"We're probably going to have to completely do away with that concession stand because there is a problem with the power line that's going to have to be moved," said Interim Mayor John "Sonny" Dumas. "The lines being moved will cost somewhere around $5,000 to $6,000 and that's before we even get into construction, and then we're going to have to look at possibly the total reconstruction of that particular building. In the process, we're basically going to have to do away with that."
Dumas added that Entergy had agreed to assess moving the power lines so that a new concession stand can be constructed in the same location.
Baseball season at Westside Park will begin when school is out for the summer. Teams in the league are scheduled to play Monday and Thursday nights.
In other news, Gill offered a motion to name the proposed community center in Winnsboro after the late Jack Hammons. Hammons served as the Mayor of Winnsboro from 1998 until his death March 5, 2010.
The board of alderman unanimously passed a motion to refer to the facility as the Jack Hammons Community Center.
In his report, Russell Grant, humane officer, said 19 dogs and a litter of kittens had been detained at the animal shelter in Winnsboro. Three of the dogs were claimed by their owners, one apparently escaped and the remaining 15 were transported to the animal shelter in Ouachita Parish. The kittens were given to the Franklin Animal Rescue for adoption.