Lawrenceville declines pay raises for council, mayor

LAWRENCEVILLE - After comparing salaries in nearby cities and discussing the issue in a work session last month, the Lawrenceville City Council on Monday declined to act on pay increases for the mayor and council members.

Mayor and council salaries in Lawrenceville have not been raised since 1992, but there was not enough support for passage of even a slight pay increase.

While salary should not be a reason to run for city office, there are a lot of demands on time and personal expenses, Councilman Bob Clark said.

"It's a legitimate issue to consider and not without risk," he said, "but it's just not going to happen."

Lawrenceville's mayor earns $800 a month, or $9,600 a year, and council members $600 a month, or $7,200 annually. Raises would not have become effective until the current mayor and council members or their successors start new terms.

"Our salaries might look similar to other cities, but there's a lot more on our table and our budget is larger," Councilman P.K. Martin said.

If the council did raise salaries, it should add a second work session a month, Martin said. The council has a regular meeting starting at 7 p.m. the first Monday that usually lasts an hour or two and a work session that begins at 3 p.m. the third Wednesday and sometimes continues until 9 p.m.

Martin described a regular meeting as "small work." However, a work session agenda may have 20 to 30 items on it, he said. "It's tedious, hard work.

"After 6 or 7 hours in work session," Martin added, "we're not doing our citizens any favors. We're not at 100 percent, and we can't make the best decisions."

Mayor Rex Millsaps said the council could add the second monthly work session without raising salaries.

In other business:

n Lawrenceville Downtown Development Authority Chairman Mike Reedy obtained authorization from the council for City Engineer Paul Austin to assist the DDA in drafting specifications to solicit bids for renovating the Oakes family home on Crogan Street to serve as a Lawrenceville Welcome Center. The city owns the home and has leased it to the DDA.

Babye Oakes Baggett, daughter of the late Jule Oakes, who served as mayor of Lawrenceville in 1949 and 1950, has donated $50,000 toward fixing up the home. Reedy said the DDA is looking into other sources of funding such as applying for grants to fund the remainder of the estimated $100,000 renovation.