Alabaster freezes city raises, could reverse decision

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Alabaster City Council voted to freeze city employee merit raises during its Sept. 16 meeting, but could reverse the move after reviewing the budget later this month, council members said.

Revenue shortfalls caused the city to freeze the raises for the 2009-2010 budget year, and the economy could again force the city to abolish them for the upcoming budget year, said Council President Jim McClain.

The 2009-2010 budget year will end Sept. 30.

“We have been trying to come up with additional funds so that we will be able to reinstate the raises,” McClain said. “We are going to try to work diligently toward that before the end of the month.”

Although the council could decide to reinstate the raises after further reviewing the budget in late September, many city employees would be eligible for the raises on Oct. 1.

“If we don’t freeze the raises for next year by October 1, we would have some employees who would be eligible for raises on the first of the month,” McClain said. “If they got their raises, but we had to freeze them after that, it would be unfair to the other employees.”

The council will hold a special meeting to review the budget later this month, during which it could decide to reinstate the raises for the upcoming budget year. The council would then vote on reinstating the raises during its Oct. 7 meeting.

In other business, the council:

– Entered into a contract with the Payments 3 company to provide debit and credit card readers for several city departments.

Through the agreement, the city will be able to accept online payments for several services, like yard sale fees and parks and recreation fees, once the city launches its new website.

– Entered into a contract with the Shelby County Board of Education to allow the city to use school facilities for its youth basketball and Smart Start soccer programs.

– Declared Sept. 17-23 as Constitution Week in honor of the 223rd anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution.