On Oct. 22, Cayce Mayor Elise Partin and all four City Council members voted themselves raises, tripling their salaries. This was done at a “second reading,” with the residents in attendance having no opportunity to ask questions, voice opinions or in any other way have any input into the discussion (actually, “discussion” isn’t possible, as only the council or mayor have the right to speak).
It isn’t simply the fact that they voted themselves raises, but that they approved such large amounts at a time when the city is in debt, and this same group recently passed a hospitality tax on prepared food, under the threat of closing our terrific museum if they didn’t. This also comes at a time when Cayce police, fire, water, sewer and other staff have received nothing more than cost-of-living raises for several years, and won’t be getting more this year either.
No matter how they try to justify these increases, the fact remains that these are part-time positions intended to serve the people, not use the people for personal gain. They are now the 15th highest paid council in the state’s 41st largest city, where 20 percent of residents’ incomes are below poverty. They used West Columbia and Lexington as comparatives, both of which are much larger than Cayce.
Not only are the amounts out of line, but the timing was terrible. How many of us have part-time jobs that permit 200 percent raises at our whim and have an entire town pay for them?