JASPER, Tenn. - The Jasper Board of Mayor and Aldermen has voted itself a 2 percent pay raise, matching the one given to all other city employees this fiscal year.
The board voted unanimously last week to approve Ordinance 360 on first reading.
Mayor Paul Evans said the board voted to increase the mayor's salary for the last three years, but those raises are not automatic.
The 2 percent raise for city employees was included in the 2013-14 budget.
"We give a raise to our employees based on our charter," Evans said. "One year, they didn't get a raise. We've given them a 1 percent raise and up to a 3 percent raise [in past years]."
In July, Alderman Leon Rash said he was glad Jasper's financial situation allowed the board to give city employees "a small token of a raise instead of having to lay someone off to make the budget break even."
The only way the mayor and aldermen can get a pay increase is to vote for it in an ordinance, Evans said.
"That's the way it is," he said. "That's the way it's always been."
One resident at last week's meeting told Evans he had worked for a company for five years, and no one there had gotten a raise during that time "due to economic reasons."
He said the board's ability to vote itself a pay increase is a process that needs to be examined.
"I knew what the mayor's salary was when I ran [for office last November], and I know what it is right now," Evans said. "It is definitely underpaid."
With the 2 percent increase, Evans will make $38,436.50 per year.
The aldermen have not had a pay increase in years, Evans said.
"I'm not trying to hide anything," he said. "I think they're definitely underpaid."
Evans announced last week that the city got an additional $68,900 in tax revenue that it was not expecting this year.
Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.