SYLACAUGA, Ala. – The outgoing Sylacauga City Council, in its second-to-last regular meeting, passed the 2016-2017 general fund budget 4-1 Tuesday evening.

The vote was not without controversy, as council president Rocky Lucas voted against the proposal. Lucas, who was the only member absent from Monday evening’s work session, disapproved of rising insurance costs on city employees being absorbed by the fund.

“The reason I decided not to vote for this budget is basically because of one reason. It is the $30,000 that the council decided to put back into the portion that pays for family benefits for employees [Monday] night,” said Lucas. “That’s the council’s decision and ultimately it passed.”

Lucas said his experience in the healthcare industry made him aware of the issue. He said he fears the city will continue to absorb monies and that it would hit the employee all at once.

“That could really throw a wrench in people’s income and the way they run their household,” said Lucas.

Also included in the budget, is a three percent pay raise for city employees.

“In this budget is enough money that we will include in their appropriation to give all full and part-time employees a three percent pay increase. That’s Parks and Recreation and library as well as our part-time employees here at city hall,” said Lucas. The council president clarified the three percent pay increase is for full and part-time library and Parks and Recreation employees. Part-time city employees will also receive a three percent increase. Full-time city employees will not receive a raise unless they are due for a step raise this year.

Total revenues totaled $14,669,584 while total expenditures totaled $14,642,972 leaving a $26,612 surplus.

The council also passed authorization for the Sylacauga Police Department to apply for a $5,377.50 grant through the ADECA Law Enforcement Traffic Safety Division to purchase radar units. SylacaugaNews.com will be closely following the progress of the application.

UPDATED at 8:59 a.m. 10/19/16 to clarify pay raises.

Michael Brannon for SylacaugaNews.com | © 2016, SylacaugaNews.com/Marble City Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Michael Brannon is a former news and sports anchor from Mobile, Ala. and serves as Director of Business Development, Manager of Digital Projects and Strategy, and Managing Editor of SylacaugaNews.com.