Mayor: Pelham budget hinges on new pay plan

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

About five months into Pelham’s 2013 fiscal year, Mayor Gary Waters said he is not stressing over the city’s lack of a budget.

“I am not going to fall into some sense of urgency just because we don’t have a budget right now,” Waters said during a Jan. 28 City Council work session. “We are nearly halfway through our budget year, but there were so many things that had to be fixed.”

According to Alabama law, municipalities are not required to pass budgets. However, if a city passes a budget, its expenses and revenues must be balanced.

Waters said he is not going to present a budget for the City Council’s consideration until a new employee pay plan is enacted. The Pelham Personnel Board recently voted to approve a new employee pay plan, which, if passed by the council, would go into effect on April 1.

“The council is in possession of that pay plan, and they can put it on their agenda at their leisure,” Waters said. “Forty-five percent of our budget is salaries and benefits, so we’ve got to have a pay plan before we can put the budget together.”

Pelham currently is operating on the Mercer pay plan – a plan Waters said violates Pelham civil service law.

Until a new budget is passed, the city will only pay for “essential purchases to keep the lights on,” Waters said. All other expenses currently are reviewed by Waters and the council on a case-by-case basis, Waters said.

During the Jan. 28 work session, Waters and council members began hearing from city department heads to gain input on operational expenses and capital project requests before moving forward with constructing the city budget.