Currently, the lowest wage earned by some city of Meridian employees is $7.25 an hour, which is also the federal minimum wage. Mayor Percy Bland is calling for that to change. As part of his budget proposal, Bland says that he will request a $9 an hour minimum salary for all city employees.
"We can't talk about recruiting and retaining quality people if we don't properly pay them. Of course, I'm not going throughout every department saying that everyone is getting a pay increase. That's not what we're doing. We have got to start somewhere."
Bland calls his $9 an hour minimum salary for all city employees a 'livable wage,' that will be funded by money that's saved from cuts that are made.
"We have a lot of contracts on the books that I think that we can save some money for, and I also think that we've had some contracts in the past that we may not need that we can handle in house. We have a lot of fat in city government in places that I think that we don't need it, and we're going to find the money to do right by those city employees."
To pay for the livable wage Mayor Bland says some vacant city jobs will also likely not be filled. If approved by the city council, he says the $9 an hour minimum salary for city workers will take affect when the new fiscal year starts October 1st.
There are currently 611 city employees in Meridian. Of those, 456 are full-time and 155 are part-time. That number changes regularly according to seasonal demands.