During their Jan. 16 meeting, Ludowici City Council approved pay raises for all city employees.
“There has been no raise for our employees for three and a half years and I think we need to decide on a pay increase, and then set annual raises based on the cost of living on their anniversary date,” Councilman Jim Fuller said.
Councilman Frank McClelland followed up by saying, “Fair is fair, we have good employees, and it is hard to keep good employees without giving them a raise sometimes.”
The council voted to give all employees a 5 percent raise to take effect on the next pay period, and then to give cost of living raises on each employee’s anniversary.
Fuller also brought to the table the issue of researching a retirement plan for all employees.
“We have had employees leave after 20 years and have nothing but social security. Most people when they go to work for a government organization take pay cuts in wages for the ability to get benefits, I think we will reduce turnover by looking into a retirement plan for the employees,” Fuller said.
The council decided to bring in at least two representatives of municipality retirement plans for the council to review.
The council also rehired all city employees for the 2007 year, and upon the recommendation of Police Chief Frank McClelland Sr., hired three new police officers.
Joseph Coursey was hired as a full time police officer and Joseph Kinard and Walter Pelton were hired as part time police officers.
The council also set the pay for city council members and the mayor at the meeting. Council members pay remained the same, with it being $200 a month, and the mayor’s remained at $600 per month.
Once these amounts had been voted on the council also approved the qualifying fee to run for these offices in 2007 at 3 percent of one month’s pay.
The qualifying dates for the election will be from Aug. 27- 31. The 2007 city election will be held on Nov. 6.
There also was some concern voiced by Mayor Myrtice Warren in regards to the speeds of trains as they went through the city and she asked the city attorney, Richard Phillips, if there anything the city could do to force them to slow down.
Phillips informed the members that federal regulations regulated the speeds of trains and no local ordinances could supersede them. But he followed this up by saying train companies were still liable for damages, should an accident happen as a result of their neglect.
Janis Goode and Jim Bennett of Cooper Rentals voiced complaints to the council over vandalism and trespassing at the Ludowici car wash owned by the company.
According to Goode and Bennett, there have been repeated acts of vandalism at the business, averaging out to losses between $200 to $300 a week.
They also said that an $1,100 loss resulted from grates being stolen and a customer’s car being damaged.
Chief McClelland said he and his department were doing everything they could to stop the problem, but the actual identity of who was doing the damage had not been determined.
Both parties decided the car wash was going to close at 9 p.m., and police and Goode would start monitoring whether any trespassers were entering the grounds after the business was closed. If there were, charges would be made against the trespassers.
Warren asked that Goode report back to her and the council as to whether the problems continued.
The council also voted to put up a sign honoring the service of the late councilman Willie Glover.
Glover served on the council for 17 years and died on Jan. 6. The marker will be placed on the street where Glover lived.
The council also voted to appoint Gwendolyn Davis to serve the remaining time left on Glover’s term representing his district.
“In the past, I lived in the big city of Jacksonville and I used to vacation here in this area. Now I do the opposite and Ludowici is my home. I look forward to serving with you on this council and will do my best to do a good job” Davis said.