Biloxi council wants to increase pay

By Elise Roberts - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Raises are the issue again in the city of Biloxi. This time, council members want to increase their pay and it has some South Mississippians speaking out.

Jan Alexander doesn't live in Biloxi, but she says she spends a lot of money in the city. That's just one reason she feels she's qualified to voice her opinion about pay raises.

"There's things that Biloxi needs to do. Woolmarket is crying for help and there are things that need to be taken care of before raises can be looked at," said Alexander.

Ward four Councilman Mike Fitzpatrick wants to implement a "cost of living increase" for the next administration. He hopes his fellow council members will vote on an annual two or three percent raise for council members for the next four years. However, many people who live, work and shop in Biloxi say now is not the time.

"Most of the councilmen work. They have other jobs to take care of their needs. So this is extra income. They are serving the people and I think they do well, but I don't think they need extra pay raises at this time," Alexander said.

"No, absolutely not. We have plenty of things that need to be done. The roads, right here in front of my shop the red light needs to be fixed," said Mimi Vertudazo, owner of the Secret Closet Consignment Boutique.

"They ought to be thankful they have a job. Most people don't even have that," Vertudazo said.

Just months ago, Mayor A.J. Holloway expressed his dismay over the council's decision to raise pay for city workers. Council members say it's unlikely he'll be in favor of this proposal either.

"I'm sure the mayor will be opposed to the council raises just like any other raises. There's a lot of differences in the pay scales and I think we are trying to be fair to everybody," said Stallworth.

Right now council members earn about $30,000 a year. The pay raise will be on the agenda at the next council meeting.