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'With inflation that is not acceptable' : Beaumont City Councilman working to raise city employee minimum wage to $15 an hour

Earlier this month, Beaumont City Council voted to increase the minimum wage for city workers to $13. Prior to this vote, some were making as little as $10 an hour.

BEAUMONT, Texas — Early September, Beaumont City Council voted to increase the minimum wage for city workers to $13 after some workers were making as little as $10 an hour.  

One councilman, however, believes that is still too little and believe their paycheck should match the work they do.  

Beaumont city employees are in charge of painting the roads, fixing leaking water pipes among other jobs for the up-keep of the city.

After the council met to discuss their annual budget, they decided to do a study to see if they were offering competitive wages. 

Council members hope the salary increase will help with staff retention, but Councilman A.J. turner says the $3 dollar raise is not enough and more work needs to be done. 

"I was actually able to talk to a former employee who worked with the city, who left because he couldn't make the wage work to buy a house and provide for his family," Councilman Turner said. "I heard the concern, and I understood it. This is my first budget season and it was something I really wanted to accomplish."

the raise in minimum wage is being funded by the city of Beaumont's sales and property tax dollars.

"I see guys cutting grass, on the side of the freeways, I see guys in manholes fixing leaks. So I inquired how much are these laborers being paid? I start to notice once staff inform me that we have some people making as little as ten dollars an hour. With inflation that is not acceptable," Councilman Turner said. 

Beaumont resident Gary Cooper notices the hard work city employees put in outside his home after his neighborhood began to experience poor water pressure. 

He says they, and everybody, deserves a living wage and decent living. 

"They need a raise because the wages today are not enough to keep up with the inflation going on in the United States or Beaumont or whatever," he said. 

The current minimum wage in Texas is $7.25 an hour. and even though Beaumont city workers are getting paid above average, some firmly believe it's still not enough,. 

"By next budget season we don't want up of any employee in the City of Beaumont, making less than $15 dollars an hour. I think we need to set the standard and set the tone since we are a larger city in this area," Councilman Turner said. "No city in our surrounding area should be paying better compensation than we are."

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