Mayor’s living wage proposal raises questions

CSRA News

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – There’s a lot of talk these days about the minimum wage, a living wage. Well under a proposal form Mayor Davis, new Augusta city workers would see a sizable increase in starting pay.  

 It’s a job for many city workers, but it isn’t much of a paycheck, and that has Mayor Hardie Davis proposing future new workers earn a “living wage.”  

“We propose 30 thousand starting salary for all of our employees. We’ve done the basic research, there are over 350 employees that are at or below poverty level here in Augusta,” said Mayor Hardie Davis. 

 Davis will need commission support to move forward, the cost is a concern.

“ We would have to find more revenue somewhere, we’re already dealing with low revenue. I think 30 thousand starting off the bat is a little difficult,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.   

“I don’t think it’s ready to be brought forward because we don’t know what the economic impact will be. We’re starting people off at a level it took others years to get to,” said Commissioner John Clarke.

Because of the impact, increasing starting pay would have on other workers’ salaries the city administrator suggesting conducting another salary study first.

“No, we don’t need another study this city spends so much money on repeated studies,” said Clarke. 

But the mayor wants the city to spend more on pay to benefit its workers 

“Whether it’s purchasing their first home, whether it’s providing for their children to go to school, college this is the way for us to do it,” said Mayor Davis. 

“Increasing a person’s wages does not necessarily mean the business can afford it,” said Williams.  

Now, Mayor Davis’ 30-thousand-dollar livable wage for starting city workers is just a proposal but city officials are saying it will be a topic of discussion at the upcoming budget work session.

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