Bay St. Louis budget offers pay hikes to city workers - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Bay St. Louis budget offers pay hikes to city workers

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) -

The expected vote on the new budget for the City of Bay St. Louis never came Tuesday night. However, city leaders did vote to set the city's millage rate at 22.75 percent.

The city is now looking to adopt a $14 million overall budget and a $7 million general fund operating budget. The proposed budget does not contain a tax increase but does include pay raises for city employees.

Candee Breaux manages the Bay St. Louis Utility Department. It’s a job she's held for four years. She's one of 120 full and part-time city workers who will see a $.50 an hour raise in a coming paycheck.

"I'm glad to get it. It's been a while since we've had raises. The cost of living has continued to go up, so we need it," said Breaux.

City leaders say it's been more than two and a half years since raises have been given to city workers.

The budget calls for an across the board $1,040 a year raise for salaried employees and $.50 an hour for hourly workers.

"We're expecting an overall annual increase of about $1,000 per person. For a lot of us, it means a lot of things. We have a lot of young families. Of course, the cost of living keeps increasing," explained firefighter Troy Buck.

The raise for Buck is more than money. It's a big pat on the back.

"This is a raise we feel we deserved. We come in every morning and try to build on the professionalism that we created the day before. This is certainly a sign and a signal that the mayor and the council and chief officers are certainly taking a look at us and recognizing that we're doing a good job for the community," said Buck.

For Police Department Patrol Supervisor Jeff Hendrix, his pay raise is already spent.

"It will definitely mean more bills getting paid. Everything is going up. The cost of electricity is going up. The cost of groceries are going up," said Hendrix.

Hendrix and others city workers say they hoped for more, but they understand the city could only give what they can afford.

"I'm sure they'd love to give us $1 an hour raise if it was financially prudent for them to do so, but of course, that's not the case right now," Buck said.

Council members are expected to pass the budget at the city council meeting next Tuesday night. The pay raises will become effective Oct. 1.

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