Councilors asked about the prospect of adding bonuses for all city employees during discussions of Mayor Sandy Stimpson’s proposed 2018 fiscal year budget.

During a pre-conference meeting Tuesday, Sept. 12, in the council conference room in Government Plaza, Councilman Levon Manzie said he has been told an agreement could be reached to offer firefighters longevity pay, and he was hopeful the city could extend bonuses to all other city employees as well.

Councilman John Williams asked his colleagues to not forget about the city’s retirees during these discussions, as they haven’t been included in the most recent raises. He said to talk about bonuses for other employees and leave them out is “unfair.”

“We’ve given everybody multiple raises and had nothing for them,” Williams said. “In many cases they’re the ones hurting the most.”

In addition to the discussion of raises, Councilwoman Bess Rich brought up concerns over the city’s recent failure to pay rent to the county for use of Government Plaza. County Commissioner Connie Hudson has said the city owes the county more than $500,000 in back rent. The city admits it hasn’t paid rent since February, but says the decision was made in response to losses the city incurred collecting the county’s taxes in recent years.The city’s collection of county tax is tied into the rent agreement the governments signed in 1991.

City attorney Ricardo Woods said the city is looking for a more favorable rent agreement since the county began telling taxpayers to use a state-sponsored online portal. Woods said the sides have agreed to come together to discuss a solution.

Councilman Joel Daves called a 3 p.m. finance committee meeting for Monday, Sept. 18, to discuss the budget. The council, which delayed a vote on the budget again this week could make a final decision on it on as early as Tuesday, Sept. 19.