Phenix City Taxpayers Don't Like Pay Raises

By Lindsey Connell - bio | email | Twitter

PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) -  An act passed by the Alabama legislature and Governor allows Phenix City councilors to make the same as the Russell County Commission.

And today, the council voted unanimously to adopt the legislation, doubling their pay.

Part-time council members will go from making $9,600 a year to  $21,620.59.

As for part-time mayor Sonny Coulter, his pay grade will double from $12,000 to $24,020.59.

"They've been passing it and rejecting it, passing and rejecting it and the legislators left it up to us. Our outgoing council voted for it and people got on our backs saying it was too much money but it never matched the county commission so it's past due for the city council," said councilor Arthur Sumbry.

"I think it needed to get done but I would rather have seen it done over a three year period due to the economy and things that are going on and the expenses the city's had this year," added councilor Max Wilkes.

With the new pay raise, Phenix City councilors will make more than most Columbus councilors.

Full-time Columbus Mayor Jim Wetherington gets three times what part-time Phenix City Sonny Coulter now rakes in but a resolution is still on the table to raise Coulter's salary to $35,000.

Taxpayers we spoke to say all of the salary bumps come at the wrong time.

"I don't really like it because we're all working hard and there isn't that much money out there," said Cody Flournoy.

"I think they're paid enough as it is. That's too much money for them. They need to do something about giving us some money and helping the economy out some other kind of way," said John Canty.

"I think it's inappropriate. I can understand that they need money too but right now is not the time to do it," said Jeff Fredrick.

The new increase will take effect next month.

The act also states that if the Russell County Commission votes to raise its pay in the future, the city council is eligible for a pay raise as well.