Mayor Salary Increase Sparks Budget Debate in Winnsboro

WINNSBORO (KTVE/KARD) -- Concerns over the city's budget are mounting in Winnsboro.

At issue is the mayor's salary and a proposed pay hike.

The City of Winnsboro still doesn't have a budget approved for this fiscal year, which began back on July 1st.

At Monday night's regular board of alderman meeting, a budget still wasn't approved.

In that proposed city budget, Winnsboro Mayor Jackie Johnson's annual salary would be increased from $30,200 to $50,000, an increase of nearly $20,000.

That's drawing outrage from some residents who said at the meeting that money should be spent elsewhere in the city.

"The justification for this extra taxpayer burden is that some mayors in other towns are paid this much. So what?" asked Winnsboro resident Kelly Martin. "Tax-and-spend politics are driving cities into bankruptcy all over this country."

Other residents voiced concerns about the salaries of city workers, saying they should be given a raise too.

"My concern is the employees that are out there. Consider these guys that are out there, what they're doing for us and the pride that they take in their jobs," said Winnsboro resident and former city employee Amanda Cobb-Adams.

Mayor Johnson told KTVE/KARD after the meeting that mayors in other areas like Delhi and Tallulah and even some Franklin Parish officials were being paid twice as much as he currently is and would still be paid more even with this increase.

"I feel that at least $50,000 would be a reasonable salary for a mayor performing the task that I perform and having the success that our city has had under my leadership," explained Mayor Johnson.

The proposed city budget was not approved Monday night.

The board of aldermen's finance committee scheduled a meeting for this Thursday.

The proposed budget will be reintroduced at next Monday's aldermen meeting.

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