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TEXARKANA, Ark. — For the first time in seven years, Texarkana, Ark., city employees will likely get a pay raise.

A vote on an across-the-board 2% raise is scheduled for the Board's regular meeting Monday.

Kenny Haskin, Texarkana, Ark., city manager, said in year's past there has never been enough money to go around. But several factors have aligned so the city can consider pay increases for its employees, he said.

"Over the past three to four years, we have tightened our belts pretty good and we have budgeted pretty conservatively. We have made some cuts when they were needed and we also positioned ourselves in a way we had pretty good fortune this year in consumer spending moving in a positive direction. Because of that, sales have increased slightly over the last 12 to 13 months and that clearly has helped put us in a position to provide a much-needed raise across the board," Haskin said.

Also, the city has adopted a financial policy in recent years on how money is generated and a philosophy on how the money is spent.

City employees last received a cost of living adjustment in July 2012, according to Controller Shena Washington. The cost this year to give a 2% raise to the city's 226 regular, full-time employees — including police and firefighters — would be more than $92,400.

The measure is on the consent agenda, meaning the Board will vote on it without discussion along with approving the minutes of its Sept. 3 meeting.

Mayor Allen Brown called for the raise during that meeting after the Board approved pay raise plans for city police and firefighters. Those plans set forth the financial conditions under which raises will be provided. They are meant to resolve an ongoing dispute regarding special sales taxes originally earmarked to maintain pay parity between Arkansas-side and Texas-side civil service workers.

On Monday, the Board will also conduct a public hearing and vote on accepting an $885,000 federal loan to rehabilitate the former Boys and Girls Club building at 1 Legion Drive. Plans are to renovate the abandoned building into a community and recreation center.

The board will also vote on condemning a substandard house at 307 Charles St. When the Board approves condemning a structure, notice is given to the property's owner that they have 30 days to obtain a building or demolition permit. If the owner fails to do so, the city may proceed with demolition itself.

The agenda includes a citizen communication time during which members of the public may address the Board on any topic for up to five minutes each.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at City Hall, 216 Walnut St.





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