THOMASVILLE — Adjustments to compensation for some hourly City of Thomasville positions are in the proposed 2020 budget, but no across-the-board raises are in the numbers.

“We project no utilities rate increases in this budget,” Ashley Cason, city chief financial officer, said at a Monday budget meeting.

The $123.7 million budget — an increase of $1.4 million over 2019 — includes employee pay adjustments that will result in no employee starting at less than $12.25 an hour, City Manager Alan Carson said, adding that the employees will be eligible for consideration of merit raises in July 2020.

Other employees also will be eligible for merit raise consideration midyear, with merit raises to be capped at 3 percent.

The 2020 transfer from utilities to the general fund is proposed at $10.5 million, down from $10.7 million in 2019.

The city plans to spend $6.3 million next year to replace water and sewer infrastructure that is more than 70 years old.

“That’s what we’re going to need to start to fix our infrastructure,” Carson said.

Infrastructure replacement is a 10-year project that will cost $20 million to $35 million. With the exception of 2020, borrowing money to pay for the work will be necessary, the city manager said.

Fifteen new positions were requested for next year. A net of six will be funded.

The “biggest elephant in the room,” Carson said, is the cost of back-door garbage pickup. The service costs $21 a month per customer. The city charges a $13.91 monthly fee.

Carson said funding the service will be addressed in 2020.

The city now uses 31 temporary employees in sanitation. Carson said residents have voiced concern that the temps are not city employees.

Mayor Greg Hobbs and Council member David Hufstetler expressed a desire at the meeting to have input into the budget process overseen by the city manager.

Carson said he is looking to the future in a way to solidify the city.

“As a council, there are times you represent and times you lead,” he said.

City council will consider adoption of the fiscal year 2020 budget in December.

Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820

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