(MOBILE, Ala.) Some city employees are happy about Tuesday's budget decision, because along with the penny sales tax comes some extra cash.
Dozens of police officers and firefighters attended Tuesday's meeting, and they quickly learned it was a good day for city employees. Last week they thought they were about to see their insurance rates go up. Now, not only is that healthcare hike off the table completely thanks to the Mayor, city employees are getting a $1,000 dollar bonus at the end of the year. But not everyone is satisfied with the new budget. City employees haven't gotten a raise in nearly six years.
After Gina Gregory cast the deciding vote to pass the penny sales tax, city employees in the room applauded the long-debated decision.
"I'm very happy. Morale will pick up," said Public Works supervisor James Turner.
"I think everybody was very pleased," said Sgt. John Angle, with the Mobile Police Department.
"It's a pleasant surprise. We needed a budget. We needed some type of revenue," said Mobile Fire Chief Stephen Dean.
The tax will generate $30 million in the first year. That money will be earmarked for specific needs, like capital improvements for police and fire.
"We have a lot of capital needs. We have two ladder trucks that need replacing, some engines and a training center we need to do repairs on," said Chief Dean.
Two and a half million dollars of the new revenue will go toward a one time longevity payment for all full time city employees.
A $1,000 bonus of sorts, just in time for Christmas.
"To me it's a thoughtful gesture because we've always thought that they're overlooking the people dedicating time to the city and public safety. This is a thank you. We're recognizing that you've stood with us through the hard times," said Sgt. Angle.
But not everyone benefits from the city's new budget.
The city is drastically slashing the amount of money they give out annually to more than 60 outside organizations.
For example, the Mobile Sports Authority will go from receiving $45,000 per year, to zero dollars from the city.
"I'm more a little confused than upset. I just didn't know anything about that happening," said Sports Authority Director Danny Corte, who was blind sided by the news.
Corte wants those funds restored. He estimates his organization generated $53 million for the city from sporting events last fiscal year.
Twenty-three percent of the Mobile Sports Authority's operating costs come from the city, the rest is funded by the county.
Hear from other groups whose city funds were slashed, including the Child Advocacy Center, tonight at 10 on Local 15 News.