The Sparta Board of Mayor and Alderman have passed the first reading of a pay raise for the board, vice mayor, and mayor.
Alderman Hoyte Jones proposed the raise to the board.
“It has been sixteen years since we have had an increase for the alderman or the mayor, either one. And I think that is one reason we can’t get people to run for this office because it is like a bottom tier job,” Jones said. “And which it is not, there is much more to it than being bottom tier. I am asking that we increase each one of us one hundred dollars a month.”
Hoyte said this pay raise would put the board in the same range of pay as the county commission.
The idea of the pay raise is to help future alderman and mayors, Hoyte said.
Alderman Jerry Lowery said he opposed the raise because of the principle.
“You all know my feelings on this. I never ever will think it is right for an elected official to vote for themselves a pay raise,” Lowery said. “I just think this is wrong. I’ve got one voice and I just think it is wrong for us to vote ourselves a pay raise. And that is my stance.”
Mayor Jeff Young said only the board can give the board a raise.
“We have an election coming up. Nobody wants to get involved, nobody wants to put the time in that it takes to go this job. You have to make decisions that make friends mad,” Young said. “And that is always tough. You have to make hard decisions on a lot of topics and you have to put in a lot of time.”
Alderman Dr. Chad Griffin and Lowery voted no on the reading.