Springfield commissioners are making sacrifices to save the cities finances.
After three workshop meetings discussing the topic, Commissioners decide to drastically cut their own salaries. “I think it's a good idea,” said Mayor Ralph Hammond. “If we are going to ask the citizens to dig deeper, then the commissioners need to lead the way." City commissioner salaries in Springfield have been increasing over the years, due to outdated resolutions. Monday, they voted to slash those amounts to save money in the suffering budget.
Commissioner Phillip Dykes made a motion to pass a resolution reducing commissioner salaries to $300 per month and the mayor’s salaries to $600 per month.
All of the commissioners voted to accept the change, expect for Commissioner Carl Curti who was pushing for a higher wage to get more people interested in the job. He was hoping for a $700 salary for commissioners and $1,000 for the mayor per month.
“A low salary is not going to bring any attention to people to come up here to try to work,” said Curti. “We do this work for these people and take the abuse we have to take sometimes, so no I don’t agree.”
The resolution also deleted the option of benefits for elected officials. Any current commissioner that currently sits on the board will be able to keep what he uses, although that option will not be offered to any future newcomers.
Salary and benefit cuts will amount to about $100,000 savings per year.
Also, the city voted to hire a grant writer in hopes that she will be able to secure additional funds for the city.
The grant writer will cost the city $1,300 per month for 1 year, although if the city is approved for any grants, that money will be reimbursed to the city.
If they do not get any results, the contract gives them the option to terminate the grant writer at any point in the year. "I think its going to be a benefit to the city to go out and try to find other money to help with infrastructure mainly and road paving,” said Mayor Hammond. “If she comes up with Parks and Rec that would be good, but our priority is infrastructure, our water, our sewer and road paving."
Also, the commission voted to approve the BayCountyEmergencyoperationsCenter taking over the dispatch operations for the Springfield Fire Department. This will be no additional cost to the city, although Fire Chief Michael Laramore said it might help them improve their ISO rating.