Pike magistrate suggests pay cut for officials from the top on down; Says he will take his 10% cut if Judge/Executive will...
As Pike County officials continue to discuss the county’s “dire” financial situation, a bold suggestion from a Pike magistrate to help alleviate some of the strain seems to have fallen on deaf ears.At Tuesday’s meeting of the Pike County Fiscal Court, Dist. 5 Magistrate Hilman Dotson, while arguing that the county’s currently idled swimming pools should be reopened, suggested that he and other county officials take a pay cut to help ease some of the financial burden the county is facing ahead of a projected multi-million-dollar budget shortfall in the coming year. Dotson’s suggested 10 percent pay reduction for county officials found little support among other court officials.“I’m willing to start. I’ll take a 10 percent cut in my pay if you (Rutherford) will and the rest of them and then ask all the commissioners to take a 10 percent cut in their pay ...” Dotson said.Dotson’s suggestion came after Rutherford detailed some of the money-saving decisions the county will be facing before the May 1 deadline for submitting a balanced budget to the state. Rutherford, however, fired back at Dotson, saying such a reduction in officials’ pay would not solve they county’s financial problems.“That’s nothing. I’ll be glad to do it, but that’s no money,” Rutherford said.Dotson responded to Rutherford by saying, “We’ve got to start somewhere,” but Rutherford continued to voice skepticism toward the suggestion..None of the other magistrates weighed in on Dotson’s suggestion, for which no formal motion was made for the court’s consideration.Although no action was taken on Dotson’s suggestion, it acted as the first public proposal by a Pike County magistrate during the current budget talks of a way to save the county money through cuts in either pay or benefits.Prior to Dotson’s proposal, Rutherford detailed the financial strain faced by the county.“There’s going to be vast decisions this court is going to have to make to present a balanced budget under the Kentucky statute,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of ... tough decisions to make as a court in regard to a budget.”Rutherford also expressed little confidence in the prospect of reopening the county’s pools.“I don’t see any way that the swimming pools could be reopened anywhere in the county. Plus, there’s going to be other things closed,” he said. “This county is in dire trouble in regard to revenue to run the county on.”Although Rutherford expressed no confidence in Dotson’s suggestion of a 10 percent reduction in pay, he said more personnel cuts will likely be needed in order to balance the upcoming budget. Those cuts, he said, will have come from the top down.“It’s not going to be the people on the back of garbage trucks that makes the minimum wage,” he said. “It’s going to be the high priced ... the people that makes the big money.”
By Chris AndersonAppalachian News-Express