Pleasantville City Council Debates Salary Adjustments Amidst Financial and Community Concerns

In a recent meeting, the Pleasantville City Council tackled a range of issues, with the most contentious being the proposed salary adjustments for the mayor and council members. The proposal sparked debate among residents and council members, with public comments addressing financial prudence, infrastructure needs, and the prioritization of city improvements. Other matters included the city’s fiscal year 2022 audit report, the 2024 budget planning, infrastructure projects, and the impact of the cannabis industry on the city’s revenue.

The debate on Ordinance 1, which aimed to adjust the salaries of the mayor and city council members, became the focal point as residents voiced their opinions on the matter. Concerns were raised about the financial implications of the salary adjustments and the timing, given the city’s financial status. One citizen, Tim Jones, highlighted the need for transparency regarding the specifics of the adjustments, while another resident questioned the appropriateness of a $10,000 annual raise without public input. The discussion also turned to the percentage increase in salaries, which some residents found excessive compared to modest raises in other sectors, like the local casino industry.

In contrast, Sweet Spot Holdings’ representative, Derwood Kinket, acknowledged the heavy workload of council members and the mayor. Meanwhile, residents emphasized the need for the council to focus on city infrastructure and amenities, including pedestrian walkways, bike paths, basketball courts, and parks, before considering raises for themselves.

Councilmember James Barclay opposed the proposed council raises, citing the city’s financial constraints and recent property tax increase.

The council’s 2022 fiscal audit was presented by Scott Baron from Bowman and Company, showing a budget of approximately $32 million, with salary and wages consuming nearly half of that amount. The audit reported an unmodified opinion with no non-compliance items in the federal single audit. Council members scrutinized the audit findings and inquired about the corrective action plans, particularly concerning the general ledger adjustments.

Discussion extended to the various resolutions on the agenda, such as fixing salaries, creating temporary budgets for 2024, awarding a streetcap project contract, and shared services agreements. Questions arose about the scope, funding, and contract duration, as well as the city’s payments to the school district. The bill list, which included software for abandoned properties, trash removal, and Main Street lighting, prompted queries about the software company’s role in property bidding and the tax sale notification process.

The council also addressed the first reading of an ordinance fixing salaries, authorized tax appeals, and awarded contracts for infrastructure projects. The 2024 city council committees were announced, focusing on areas like community relations, finance, public safety, and storm wastewater management.

Safety concerns near schools were also discussed, with council members Ricky Cistrunk and Lawrence “Tony” Davenport advocating for better lighting and equitable distribution of projects across Pleasantville. Mayor Judy M. Ward acknowledged the challenges in retaining crossing guards due to inadequate pay.

Councilmember Carla Thomas highlighted positive developments in the city, calling for optimism and pride. The upcoming job fair and the revenue from the cannabis industry were other topics of discussion, with Councilmember Bertilio “Bert” Correa pointing out the financial benefits of the cannabis sector.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Judy M. Ward
City Council Officials:
Ricky Cistrunk, James Barclay, Bertilio “Bert” Correa, Lawrence “Tony” Davenport, Joanne Famularo, Carla Thomas, Victor Carmona

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