Debate over proposed raises in the FY2019 advisory budget were the major order of businesses during the Tuesday meeting of the Lewistown City Council.

Debate over proposed raises in the FY2019 advisory budget were the major order of businesses during the Tuesday meeting of the Lewistown City Council.


Mayor Elmer Littlefield told council he agreed raises should be given but questioned the amount of raises given to certain personnel, saying if these raises continued on the proposed path the city would eventually be operating in the red. He commented he believed some of the raises were excessive, that Lewistown city personnel were paid well for the area and urged council to keep raises to a basic 3 percent.


Ward 1 Alderman Trever Kelley disagreed, saying personnel such as the police were “behind as it is” in their pay scale and added he felt the mayor did not know exactly what the police went through in the discharge of their duties. He also said raising the police salaries would help keep officers in town.


Mayor Littlefield responded raises had been made in the past and officers still left.


City Administrator Amanda Woodruff explained her reasons for the proposed raises in the budget.


She noted one of the officers was slated to receive extra money because other officers were in training and would receive a higher salary when they completed it. The extra money would allow the officer with seniority to have a higher salary in light of his lengthier time of service.


Woodruff added her raise would help put her on a par with her counterparts in city government, while still keeping her salary under what they were being paid.


Woodruff also noted some of the raises suggested for public works personnel was contingent on their completing their training.


In addition, Woodruff commented that the last audit showed the city had a surplus equal to nine months of expenses. Auditors recommended cities have a six month reserve for a healthy economic situation.


It was decided for council to look over the proposed budget and discuss it in a special committee meeting April 24 at 6 p.m. The budget would then be voted on at the regular council meeting that evening.