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LOIT Funds And Raises Discussed At Oolitic Town Council Meeting

Last updated on Tuesday, July 10, 2012

(OOLITIC) - The Oolitic Volunteer Fire and the Oolitic Police Department presented their request to have LOIT Funds turned over to their departments at a special Oolitic Town Council meeting Monday night.

Oolitic VFD Chief Jason Lewis s wants the funds split 50/ 50 between the fire department and the police department.

Lewis wants the LOIT funds to be used to supplement his department's budget, instead of being included in the budget.

He also requested that the department be allowed to pay their own bills instead of submitting them to the town for payment.

"We are more than willing to maintain our budget where it is now, if the LOIT funds are given to us as a supplement," Lewis says. "If not then we will have to go through the budget line by line to see where we stand."

Town Clerk Treasurer Jim Staley says the town receives $944.98 a month in LOIT funds and that would need to be split between the two departments if that is what the council agrees to.

Town councilmen Billy Burnett and Bill Kendall says before they can support the LOIT funds to be used to supplement the department's budget they would like to see employee get pay raises.

"We have got to see that the employees get a pay raise first," Kendall says. "And my goal is to see that it gets done."

However, Deputy Marshal Bill Allen says the split should be 70/30 which would allow him and Town Marshal Jon Jeffries to receive a pay increase. Allen says his and Jeffries' salaries are at the poverty level.

"We are the lowest paid officers in the state," Allen told the council. "Odon who has 14,000 citizens, town marshal is paid $41,675 and their deputy marshal gets $30,000, while Jon gets $30,000 and I make $26,500"

Allen says he and Jeffries should receive a $3,500 pay raise and that money would come from the 70 percent of the LOIT funds.

"It's just a matter of simple math," Allen says. "We don't have insurance and we don't come to this board requesting money. We have one of the lowest operating budgets of the town. But I can't pay my bills on what I make. I just thank God, my wife has a good job and insurance."

Allen wanted the council to vote on the pay increases Monday night, but city attorney Nathan Nikirk says first a salary ordinance would have to be drawn up and voted on before that could be done.

Council president Delvin Nikirk says the council should have an answer about the salary increases by the end of the month at their regular town council meeting.

* The council also agreed to let the street department employees to start work at 7 a.m. and work till 3:30 p.m. instead of coming in at 8 a.m., because of the extreme heat.

The town will monitor comp-time hours and if the hours increase, the men will have to return to the 8 a.m. start time.

Kendall says he has received several complaints about the street department not picking up brush and the shape of the community center.

"And I heard that there was an opening at the street department," Kendall added. "If you don't get your way, well we are not going to bend to you. You know what you make, you know what is required of you. If you don't like it you can go somewhere else."

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