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In a special, 3-minute meeting Monday afternoon at Simpsonville City Hall, the Simpsonville City Commission gave unanimous approval to pay increases for its members.
The raises, which would go into effect in January, call for the mayor’s monthly stipend to increase from $400 to $800 and the four commissioners’ from $250 to $350.
The special meeting was to consider a second reading of the ordinance introduced April 21 and to do so in time for the increases to be published and become legal by May 1, which is required by state statutes because city elections will be held in November.
Mayor Steve Eden was absent from the meeting – city administrator David Eaton said he was sick – and Mayor Pro Tempore Scott McDowell ran the meeting.
Though this was the first raise for the mayor and commission since April 2003, it did not come without at least one piece of public rebuke.
Former city commissioner Dottie Shelburne told commissioners that she didn’t think this was right time to be giving themselves raises.
“I don’t see how and why you need to do this at this time,” Shelburne said. “The city is in debt. The city needs a full-time mayor, but most of you don’t need the money. This is not the time to address salaries.”
Shelburne also complained that the mayor should have been at the meeting to address the vote.
McDowell said he didn’t know why Eden was absent.
“I didn’t know until just a few minutes ago when I got here that I would be running the meeting,” he said.
After Shelburne sat down, commissioner Vicky Wise moved to accept the ordinance, and Sharon Cummins seconded. The roll-call vote was unanimous.
The raises, though large by percentage, will cost the city $10,000 a year.
Eden said at the commission meeting on April 21 that the city expected to finish its fiscal year on budget.