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Lula to consider council member pay, reimbursement

POSTED: April 21, 2014 12:48 a.m.

Lula is looking to set limits on unforeseen compensation and reimbursement of expenses.

City Council is set to hold a public hearing at 5:30 tonight on an ordinance that lays out strictly how council members will be paid for extra meetings and how much they can expect to be reimbursed.

“There’s a limit to what we can budget,” City Manager Dennis Bergin said. “If they want to spend every dime of it, fine, but it’s got to be budgeted.”

Council expenses “have never been a problem, but I don’t want it to be one, either.”

Council members are paid $100 monthly and the mayor, $400 monthly.

The ordinance states council members can get paid $100 per meeting outside the city up to three meetings, or $300; and the mayor, $100 per meeting outside the city up to four meetings, or $400.

Also, the five council members and the mayor could each receive $50 for one additional work session. Currently, the city has one work session and one regularly scheduled meeting per month.

The most a council member could earn per month would be $550, and the mayor could make no more than $1,000 monthly, the ordinance states.

Mayor Milton Turner noted this week is a good example of the busy pace of elected leaders of the northeast Hall County city. The group has a meeting nearly every day, including Monday’s public hearing at Lula City Hall, 6055 Main St.

And officials “ought to be compensated,” Turner said.

“Their cup can runneth over,” Bergin said. “And in my view, when they get compensated to go to a meeting, their performance is a lot better.”

Bergin pointed to other governments that pay for members to attend extra meetings and functions. He cited Lula Councilwoman Vicky Chambers as a reason the ordinance is needed.

Chambers runs a local florist shop, and “when she walks away from that, she’s losing business, as well as losing money,” he said.

The ordinance also calls for elected officials to be paid 68 cents per mile, with a limit of $100 every three months. Also, they can be compensated for up to 15 meals every three months.

Lodging expenses would be fixed at $125 per day and limited to five days over six months.

Higher amounts “may be considered by full council in a regular scheduled monthly council meeting on a case-by-case basis, as warranted by geographical location and meeting requirements,” the ordinance states.

An example is Georgia Municipal Association meetings.

If approved, the ordinance becomes effective immediately.


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