Bartlett passes budget, raises salaries

City of Bartlett sealBartlett has passed new fiscal year budgets, raised salaries for the mayor and aldermen, and kept the ad valorem tax rate at the same $1.62 per $100 of assessed value for another year.

At the May 27 city board meeting, the board unanimously adopted the 2014-15 budgets for these funds: general, street aid, solid waste, general improvement, drug enforcement, DEA enforcement, drainage, parks improvement, utility, debt service and capital improvements. The public hearing will be part of the regular city board meeting at 7 p.m. June 10 in Bartlett City Hall. (See the budget summary chart posted at the bottom of this article and the full FY2015 budget, as proposed, on the city's site.)

Salary increases

The mayor’s annual salary will be raised from $85,000 to $87,500 as of the new term beginning Jan. 1, 2015, and the salary will be raised $2,500 per year for the rest of the four-year term, up to $95,000 in the final year of the term. The current salary has been in place since 2009. The resolution that passed also included a mayoral vehicle allowance of $500 per month in lieu of providing a city vehicle.

Alderman Bobbie Simmons (Position 4) made a motion for the board to combine the proposed raises for the mayor and the aldermen into one vote. Vice mayor and alderman Jack Young (Position 5) questioned the need for the combination.

“It seems to me there’s no question that the mayor’s position is worthy of a raise, and I believe the reason that there may be a desire to combine these things is to try to ensure that the aldermen get a raise in addition,” Young said. “And I just think they ought to stand on their own.”

The move to combine the salary raises passed with two dissenting votes from Young and alderman Emily Elliott (Position 2).

The vote to approve the proposed raises for the mayor and aldermen passed unanimously.

Elliot commented with her vote, “While I don’t feel compensation should be anyone’s motivation for serving a community, our responsibilities have risen with the increased population and school budgetary issues that we’ve had to deal with in the last several years. And we’ve not had any raise the last several years, and these raises for the mayor or the aldermen are not out of line with other communities in Shelby County. Therefore, I will vote yes.”

The aldermen’s salaries will increase from $8,200 annually to $9,300 the first year and $900 per year for the rest of the four-year term, up to $12,000 in the final year of the term. The aldermen’s salaries have remained flat since 2010. The raise only affects aldermen in positions 1, 2, and 3 (currently, W.C. “Bubba” Pleasant, Elliot, and David Parsons, respectively) as of January 2015.

Aldermen positions 4, 5 and 6 (currently, Simmons, Young and Paula Sedgwick) will be raised to $11,100 in January 2017 (after the 2016 elections) and will receive a $900 raise the following year to remain current with the other aldermen.

School district's budget

Crest for Bartlett City SchoolsThe board voted to adopt the 2014-2015 general purpose school budget for Bartlett City Schools on its first reading. The second reading will be at the June 3 special-called city board meeting, and the public hearing will be on June 10.

Before the vote, Bartlett school superintendent David Stephens explained that the city would be taking possession of the school buildings from Shelby County Schools on June 2 and immediately beginning on the summer maintenance and custodial tasks, but the principals finishing up their 12-month contracts with Shelby County Schools still need to wrap up their work for the 2013-2014 school year.

However, the Bartlett City Schools’ fourth quarter budget (April – June 2014) didn’t include any of the related administrative staff costs during June. The school board approved an amended budget that Stephens could use to cover that cost if it is needed.

Stephens emphasized the “if.” He is continuing to have discussions with Shelby County Schools superintendent Dorsey Hopson II and hopes to resolve the issue without having to use the amended budget.

The amended Bartlett City Schools budget would require another $105,000 for June, Stephens said.

The transition period also includes a liability issue, with county school employees working in city school buildings. Stephens and Hopson are also in talks on this issue.

“We feel confident that we can come to some agreement that will be workable for both parties and will be some kind of compromise,” Stephens said. He said all the municipal school districts are dealing with comparable issues for the transition period.

Other approved ordinances

Other ordinances unanimously approved by the city board will also be in the June 10 public hearing:

  • Ad valorem taxes: The city will levy and assess a tax rate of $1.62 per $100 of assessed value of real property and personal property in Bartlett for the 2014 tax year. McDonald said this rate is unchanged from the current year.
  • Retirement: A contributory retirement plan for city employees hired on or after July 1.
  • Benefits: The board amended the defined benefit plan in the city’s retirement system.

Additional business

In routine business, the Bartlett city board also approved:

  • A peace officer supplement. The FY2014 operating budget was amended to appropriate $60,600 for peace officer supplement pay for Bartlett Police Department personnel. This supplement has been approved in several recent years, McDonald said.
  • The purchase of two police cars. The board accepted the lowest bid from Swope Auto Group to buy two police cars at $23,230.71 each. They will replace two of the supervisors’ vehicles that have high mileage and are approximately six years old.
  • Permits for two charitable runs. The board approved a special event permit for the Youth Villages 5K and 10K runs to be held 7-11 a.m. June 28, starting at St. Philip Church.
  • The bid for annual Public Works supplies. Director Bill Yearwood said bids were approved for the upcoming fiscal year’s supplies. The city board approved the lowest bids, which were submitted by the following vendors:
    • Animal medical supplies, Patterson Veterinary, based in Devins, Mass., and Henry Schein Animal Health, based in Dublin, Ohio
    • Water supplies, compression fittings, corporation stops and water main repair clamps, G & C Supply Company Inc. of Atwood, Tenn.
    • Water meters, United Utilities Inc., based in Smyrna, Tenn.
    • Concrete, Memphis Ready Mix
    • Fill sand, limestone and rip rap, Fullen Dock & Warehouse Inc. of Memphis
    • Yard waste disposal, Jones Mulch Co. LLC of Memphis and Nature’s Earth Products, with locations in Arlington and Memphis and also in Southaven, Miss.

Written by Carolyn Bahm, Express editor. Contact her at (901) 433-9138 or via email to
Bartlett FY2015 budget summary