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Hazlehurst mayor vetoes budget, wants pay raise; Sept. 15 deadline nears

By Anna Coates

A special called meeting of the Board of Aldermen of the City of Hazlehurst on Sept. 9 has resulted in a critical situation for citizens.
The city may not be able to pay bills on Sept. 30 after Mayor Kenneth “Hog” Ramsey vetoed the budget passed by aldermen Sept 9. The administration has until Sept. 15 to reconcile the budget so employees can be paid and monthly obligations met.

At issue is the mayor’s insistence on a raise in salary for his position. Ramsey has sought an increase of 42% from $32,500 annually to $46,000 annually. His veto came after his request was not included in the budget passed by aldermen. The board may revisit the issue and attempt to override the veto with a 4-1 vote. Three aldermen voted in favor of the budget without the raise (Frank Jones, Ward One; Fred Sandifer, Ward Three; and Rick Akin Ward Five), leaving the other two (Jeremy Longino, Ward Two; and Jeremy McKinzie, Ward Four) opposing the budget without the raise.

Ramsey’s request comes even as the city is seeking applicants for new police officers with a starting pay of $22,500.