LANCASTER — Lancaster City Council approved a resolution Tuesday to contribute $10,000 of 2012-13 city funds to the county Industrial Development Authority.
Council members voted 5-0 in favor of the resolution. Councilwoman Maggie Mick, who is married to Garrard County Economic Development Director Nathan Mick, abstained from the vote.
The resolution, drafted by Councilman Bret Baierlein and slightly amended by City Attorney Leonard Smith, requires the IDA to present a budget for how it will use the money before actually receiving the funds. The money can be used to help fund Nathan Mick’s position or for any other expense related to economic development.
Millard Rose, city sewer superintendent, spoke on behalf of a group of water and sewer employees who think raises have not been fairly distributed among city employees.
“We want to be treated fair and equal,” Rose said.
Baierlein and Maggie Mick pointed out that over the past two years all city employees have received 6.73 percent raises.
Rose suggested city leaders consider hiring an outside firm to create a policy manual and pay scale for water and sewer employees. He added he does not agree with the city contributing money that likely will be used to fund Nathan Mick’s position. During last week’s meeting, water distribution director Stacy Grow echoed similar thoughts.
Mick’s position previously was funded by Garrard County Fiscal Court, but three magistrates have twice voted down the 2012-13 county budget because they think Mick’s salary is too high. Mick earns $68,500 a year. The dissenting magistrates, Betty Holtzclaw, Joe Leavell and Fred Simpson, also want the IDA rather than Garrard Judge-Executive John Wilson to supervise Mick.
The issue came up about a week before the Republican primary election for 36th District state representative; Mick was running against Lancaster farmer Jonathan Shell and lost the election. Wilson has alleged that the magistrates’ actions were politically motivated because they wanted Shell to win the primary. All three magistrates have denied the allegation.
During recent interviews with a reporter, Leavell and Simpson both said they know Shell’s parents well but did not publicly endorse any candidate because they think it is inappropriate for public officials to do so. The men declined to discuss for whom they voted.
Fiscal Court will try again to pass a 2012-13 budget in a special meeting. As of press time, that date had not been set.