Councilwoman Robin Buschman said she was “confused” about the agenda item and “wanted to table it at this point.”
“If I’m not correct, please let me know, but from what I understand, we’re voting to take city employees’ raises to compensate and put in for police services and I know Councilman [Richard] Steinberg and I ran on the position of taking care of employees and morale, so I don’t understand how we could potentially take money for raises and put it back eventually,” she said.
Interim Treasurer Mike Bush said although the city’s 2014 budget is $8.4 million, Stockbridge has received $9 million in 2013, allowing about $600,000 to be “put up for a rainy day.”
He said the city will “probably” receive the same $9 million amount in 2014.
“Our thinking was, ‘why raise our budget if we don’t have to do so?’ and in October we will come back before you, the council and ask what you want to do with it, such as put it in a reserve or use it for pay raises,” Bush said.
When asked by Steinberg what the $500,000 debt to the county’s police department was for, Mayor Tim Thompson said it covered the salary of “two extra police officers per shift for 24 hours a day.”
Steinberg said further inquiry was required to make sure “the county did, in fact, provide those services to Stockbridge.”
Thompson said “after speaking several times with the county’s police chief and captain, I’ve been assured we are receiving those services.”
What's next? The city council will again discuss the contract at its work session March 4 at 6 p.m. before attempting another vote at its regular monthly meeting March 10.