On Monday night June 17 at the regular Benton County Commission meeting, the commissioners voted down a motion that would increase their pay to $41.00 per meeting and $50 per committee meeting. The motion came from second district commissioner Fred Patterson and was seconded by Darnell Scott.
When Commissioners were sworn into office in September 2012, one of the first items of business was to cut their pay. Due to the dire financial straits of the county, some wanted to cut the pay out entirely, but state laws do not allow the pay to be below $25. per meeting.
Patterson, who was elected in 2012, told commissioner that he had checked with surrounding counties and none of them were paid as low as Benton County. “They laugh at us. Its a joke. I want to be paid like Carroll County and they get $100 for commission meetings,” Patterson said.
Sixth district commissioner Jamie Barrett stated that he would support that motion when the county started putting money back in the reserve.
Fifth district commissioner Debbie Kyle stated that the county is not in a financial situation to pay the extra funds. “This county has not been in the black since Jimmy Thornton was mayor.”
When the vote to raise the pay was taken Mary Powers, Jimmy Wiseman and Fred Patterson voted for the raise. All others voted against it.