The City Council on Tuesday finally settled a thorny pay issue, leading to passage of the city budget on second reading. The vote was 5-4.
A new budget includes:
$1.3 million to the police department for its career development program
3 percent across the board pay increase to civilian employees, costing $1.3 million
$75 per year longevity pay increase to all city employees with at least five years of service. Checks will be issued in time for Christmas.
Voting to approve the budget, including the salary plan recommended by the administration, were Carol Berz, Manny Rico, Jack Benson, Sally Robinson and Russell Gilbert.
Council members Pam Ladd and Deborah Scott did not favor the longevity pay, and Peter Murphy and Andrae McGary wanted to include fire and police in a 1.5 percent across-the-board increase.
The council on Tuesday afternoon decided to pull $165,000 from WTCI Channel 45 and delay helping the public broadcasting station start a new digital channel that would include a range of government programming.
Councilman Murphy said that should be a decision for the new administration since it would commit the city for continued funding.
The new amount for WTCI is $85,000.
The council decided to use the $165,000 to up the allotment to the AIM Center and Joseph Johnson Mental Health Center by $5,000 each and give the rest to the Childrens Home/Chambliss Shelter, which Councilman Murphy said had gotten the "guillotine" in budget cuts.
The council will continue talks on the capital budget next Tuesday at 1 p.m. at City Hall.