Lewis Washington

Daniel Dye / The Herald

Councilman Lewis Washington, right, discusses a proposed salary increase for the city’s mayor and councilmember positions as councilman Steve Gantt looks on.

The Wetumpka City Council had a first reading and discussed the ordinance to increase the salary of the city’s mayor and councilmember positions at its meeting Tuesday.

If the council passes the ordinance, the mayor’s salary would be raised to $45,000 per year and councilmembers’ salaries would be raised to $10,800 per year beginning in November. 

Currently, Wetumpka Mayor Jerry Willis earns $25,000 per year and councilmembers each earn $7,200 per year.

Councilmember Kevin Robbins said he placed the proposed ordinance on the agenda because the mayor’s position has not seen an increase in three decades.

Councilmember Lewis Washington voiced concerns over the proposal.

“This is lots of money for a city this size,” he said. “Where are we going to be able to justify the salary?”

Robbins said it is an embarrassment to the city the salary for the mayor’s job is $25,000.

“I’m not talking about this mayor (Willis),” he said. “I’m talking about any mayor in the City of Wetumpka. When this (salary) was established, the job was considered a part-time position.”

Willis said he was not part of any discussions related to the proposed ordinance.

“I don’t do this for the money,” Willis said. “At some point in time, it is going to have to happen. It’s in the council’s hands; it’s not mine. I don’t make a decision about the finances. The council makes every one of them and they give me the ability to run the day-to-day operations.”

Also at the meeting,Wetumpka resident Barbara Roberts said some residents are not caring for their animals as she expected after the city passed a dog tethering ordinance.

“We didn’t expect the ordinance would solve this overnight,” she said.

She said there is more than one residence in town she brought to the council’s attention.

“Some of this is just common sense,” she said. “The dogs on a trolley are all tangled up (Tuesday) morning.”

Willis informed Roberts he is waiting on an animal ordinance officer to return his messages regarding the status of the issues Roberts reported to the council.

In other action, the council:

• Approved council minutes from the Jan. 6 meeting

• Granted the mayor permission to purchase grandstands and a press box for the new city football stadium

• Approved two sidewalk extension projects in downtown Wetumpka

• Renewed a lease for the city’s public works department for uniforms with UniFirst

The council’s next meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Feb. 3 at Wetumpka City Hall.