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City plans website; council pay raises

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SHERRY LONG
News Editor
FERRIS - It's 2006, but the City of Ferris still does not have their own place on the worldwide web.

However, that's about to change.

City Councilman Billy Don Dunn requested a workshop be held following Monday night's council meeting allowing the elected officials to discuss the possibility of having a site developed.

City Manager Gus Pappas said Main Street Director Marietta Allen had previously asked if the city wanted to be included in the Downtown Association's plan for a website.

Pappas said the web site would have been provided to the city free, including a link from the association's home page.

The city would have been required to produce its own content for the site.

However Allen's project had stalled out, according to the city manager.

'I would rather the city have its own rather than being a link,' Mayor Pro-Tem Fred Pontley said.

Ferris Police Chaplain and part-time dispatcher Doug Childers developed and maintains the Ferris Police Department website, www.ferrispd.com.

I'm more interested in developing a site that anyone in this community could go to the site and find anything about the city,' Dunn said.

Childers said a modifiable site could meet these demands and would be the most ideal to serve all the city's needs of keeping residents informed of meetings and ordinances.

He said it would cost more to set up than a traditional static site, but cost less in the long run.

Childers said he would train city staff to update the web as necessary to post meeting agendas and other documents, which he said would be as easy as scanning a document.

At average industry standard prices a web designer would charge between $1,300 to $1,500 to develop a modifiable site.

It was not determined how much Childers would charge.

Pappas was granted permission by the council to work out an agreement for services and payment allowing Childers to develop a web site for the city.

Council members also voted to give the next city council a pay raise.

In notes to the city council, Pappas said the city's compensation guidelines needed to be updated.

'The increase in council compensation would have a high percentage, but it is very little money,' Pappas said.

In April 1975 the city council approved an ordinance to pay the mayor and each councilman a small fee for attending two regularly scheduled council meetings per month.

Under the previous ordinance the mayor was paid $25 per meeting and furnished a car to be driven while conducting all city business.

Each council member was paid $5 per meeting.

Both ordinances stated council members and the mayor could only be paid for two council meetings per month and not for specially called meetings.

The payments would still be paid on quarterly basis.

With the new ordinance effective beginning May 30, 2008 the mayor would be paid $50 per meeting and council members would receive $25 per meeting.

'That is after all of you present have either left office or have come up for re-election,' said Pappas noting the state law prohibiting general law cities, such as Ferris, from increasing their own pay.

The new ordinance would not allow for the mayor to have access to a city-owned vehicle since it was a provision when the city was operating as a strong-mayor form of government.

It was now considered a city manager form of government because Pappas was responsible for running the city's day to day operations.

Elected officials would only be paid for meetings they attended, not their absences.

Several council members mentioned they wanted to ensure their money benefited non-profit agencies and a provision was included allowing each elected official to designate which agency should receive their quarterly meeting earnings.

Council members and the mayor would still be compensated for expenses relating to their job duties only if receipts were submitted.

However expenses arising from seeking public office could not be reimbursed.

'Politically or campaign expenses shall not be reimbursable,' the ordinance states.

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