(Crittenden County, AR) The debate over raising the minimum wage is taking center stage in Crittenden County, Ark.
Quorum Court Justice Hubert Bass submitted a resolution to raise the minimum wage for county workers in Crittenden County to $10 an hour.
Monday, Bass said the time is right for other Quorum Court members to consider his resolution and pass it.
But not everyone is on the same page.
“I mean nobody can make it on minimum wage, $7.25 an hour or anything under $10 an hour. It would be very hard to meet basic minimum needs,” said Hubert Bass, Crittenden County Quorum Court Justice.
Bass said raising the minimum wage for county employees in Crittenden County is long overdue and said county employees “have been undervalued for far to long and it’s time to make their hard work pay.”
“I think it’s a good time to introduce it and get it out there for the people and the court to look at. And hopefully get the people what they deserve, ” said Justice Hubert Bass.
But Quorum Court Justice Lisa O’Neal was quick to voice her opposition.
“To be able to do this for our employees would be wonderful. But with our budget it just seems very unrealistic to put that kind of financial strain on the county,” said Justice Lisa O’Neal.
O’Neal said Crittenden County employees were given a $500 bonus and a five percent raise last year.
She said raising the minimum wage across the board would cost the county more than just an average of three dollars.
“You’ve got unemployment, you’ve got Social Security, you’ve got matching funds. You’re talking about a great deal more per hour than $10. I just don’t feel this is not a safe decision to make on our county,” said Lisa O’Neal.
Justice Hubert Bass argues raising the starting minimum wage to $10 an hour “would pump more consumer-spending power to fuel Crittenden County’s local economy.”
Tommy Donaldson lives in Crittenden County and frequents the Shake Shack in Marion, Arkansas
He said he likes the idea and thinks county employees deserve it.
“Absolutely. I think if they’re not making ten dollars an hour, they need to be. With the situation of the prices of everything now, you know,” said Tommy Donaldson.
There are between 250 and 300 county workers in Crittenden County.
Justice Bass’s resolution will officially be presented to Quorum Court members this Thursday.