Watts suggests council, mayor give up salaries
by Kenda Nelson
Jan 26, 2012 | 1612 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Bart Wales and Rosemary Kelley, both members of the historical commission, announced at the Refugio City Council meeting Tuesday night that the Texas Independence Wine Festival,  set for March 10 and 11 in Heritage Park, will have more wineries represented, more entertainment and more tents to hold the crowd.
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REFUGIO — Council member Karen Watts proposed that the mayor and five council members give up their salaries so the money can be dispersed among the 22 city employees.

“I was really thinking about how we could get money together to pay the employees extra,” Watts said.

The mayor makes approximately $12,000 per year and each council member makes $2,400 per year. Combined, that amounts to approximately $24,000 that would be split between 22 employees.

Under her proposal, department heads would not receive a share of the money. She also suggested that the salaries of department heads be frozen for two years.

“We need to set an example at the top to help the employees make more money,” she said.

The council may vote to relinquish their salaries but the action will not take place until May, after the local election, according to Donald Kubicek, city attorney.

“We have three councilmen coming up for election,” said Ron Nelson, councilman.

Nelson pointed out that, should the council do away with the salaries, the newly elected aldermen will have to work for two years without any form of stipend.

Under the law, salary changes do not go into effect until after the election. Those elected in May will not be allowed to reinstate the salaries until after the 2013 election.

Several details must be worked out, according to Callie Shreckengost, city secretary, who suggested that a workshop may be necessary.

Shreckengost said a bookkeeping problem would have to be resolved regarding moving money from the general fund into water and sewer funds.

A workshop will be held at 6 p.m. before the Feb. 28 meeting.

Municipal Court Judge Gary Bourland announced that the court had collected $26,788 in fines for the months of October, November and December and another $17,143 in court costs.

Much of the fines were collected during a warrant round up conducted by the Refugio Police Department.

The judge pointed out that the fines not only come from traffic tickets and citations but also from fines levied for ordinance violations.

“We had 37 city ordinance violations – 15 were fined during the month of December,” Bourland said.

The council also agreed to a $12,000 offer from Columbia Tech Tanks, a company that installed an above ground storage tank on Vance Street. The lining of the tank caused the water to turn blue and flaked off.

The council also approved a request from the Refugio County Historical Commission for 85 percent of $6,400 or $5,440 for the Texas Independence Wine Classic set for Saturday and Sunday, March 10 and 11. The commission also received $350 for the relocation of the Civil War Monument to Heritage Park. Currently the monument is erected in front of the courthouse.

“It is stained and you can’t read the words,” said Rosemary Kelley, president of the commission.

The refurbishment and moving will cost $1,100.

In police department matters, Erin Landrum was hired as tshe new police officer.
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