Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of articles about the salary and compensation of local public employees and elected officials. All compensation information was obtained through public records and open records request with each government agency.

The city of Oak Grove paid $2,253,523 in salaries to its employees and city council members, according to the 2018-19 amended budget.

Salaries of city employees are determined by pay grades laid out in the city's compensation plan, which is approved by the city council, said Misty Cutshall, city of Oak Grove Public Works director.

While most city employees' salaries are paid through the city's general fund, water department payroll is paid for by the water fund.

The water department is considered an enterprise fund and maintained separately, Cutshall said.

"We can't co-mingle those funds," she said. "Water department money pays for water department employees. We don't use property taxes to pay for water. Likewise, we don't charge people on their water bill to pay a police officer's salary."

General fund

Of the $4,277,760 accrued in the city's general fund, 43% is allotted to paying city employees' salaries, according to the amended budget.

About 20 revenue streams contribute money to the general fund, Cutshall said. Different funding mechanisms other than taxes contribute to the general fund.

"There is different funding coming in that is dictated … meaning we can't use that money for anything else," she said. "Some of that does involve salaries, not just construction or equipment. That's a big deal when it comes to the payscale and how it works."

The largest contributor to the city's general fund is the occupational license tax, Cutshall added.

"That is tax on gross profits that our businesses make and tax on the employees who work in Oak Grove," she said. "For example, Walmart will pay us a tax on their gross profit, and then each individual employee that works there, will have a little bit withheld from them each week that will be sent to the city of Oak Grove."

Property tax is the second largest contributor to the city's general fund, Cutshall said.

"Property tax is a tax on real and tangible property located within the city of Oak Grove which is paid to us annually," she said.

The general fund pays those employed through public safety, public works, government and the Oak Grove Community Center.

The Oak Grove Police Department employs a chief of police, a lieutenant, a major, four sergeants and 11 officers. The chief of police's rate of pay is $33.06 per hour. Police officer's hourly rate ranges from $16.10 to $21.97.

In the dispatch department, four dispatchers are paid $15.82 per hour, a police records clerk is paid $15.82 per hour and the supervisor for dispatch is paid $19.31 per hour.

The city employs seven people who are considered emergency services. Such positions include Emergency Medical Technician-Pro Re Nata (EMT-PRN) and paramedics. The part-time emergency medical services supervisor is the highest paid emergency services employee at $22.41 per hour.

Oak Grove's animal control officer is paid $15.82 per hour. The city also employs two code enforcement officers, one full-time and one part-time. The full-time position is paid $15.82 per hour.

The city's two-person roads and grounds team falls under public safety. The roads and grounds crew leader earns $18.18 per hour; and the roads and grounds worker earns $14.85 per hour.

Government includes the salaries of four city hall employees — city clerk, deputy city clerk and two accountants. The annual salary of the city's mayor was $39,346, according to the 2018-19 amended budget.

In the budget, $14,400 is allotted to paying the city's six council members. Each member is paid $200 per hour.

The Oak Grove Community Center employs one full-time and two part-time customer service representatives. The highest paid employee at the center is the director, who earns $18.18 per hour.

Water fund

Eleven people are employed through the city's water department, which is paid for by the water fund. The average hourly rate of pay for water department employees is $19.61, with the lowest-paid position being a part-time customer service representative at $12.71 per hour.

The city's highest paid employee, Cutshall, falls under the water department. She earns $37.61 per hour.

Public works director

Cutshall, who was hired about five years ago, manages the utility office and all water, roads and stormwater staff. Since being hired, she also has taken on finance and accounting, and risk management responsibilities.

City of Oak Grove Mayor Theresa Jarvis said Cutshall does a lot to keep the city compliant with state guidelines and the law.

"Since (Cutshall) came to the city our audits have been clean … she keeps our city straight," Jarvis said. "Oak Grove has had a bad reputation in the past, and (Cutshall) has been a part of improving that reputation."

Cutshall has a master's degree in business administration from Belmont University and a bachelor's degree in accounting from Austin Peay State University. Among other positions, she has served as an auditor for the state of Tennessee and chief financial officer for Clarksville Gas and Water.

"She's one of the best things that has happened to this city. She helps every department here on a daily basis," Jarvis said. "We couldn't do it without her."

Reach Mari-Alice Jasper at 270-887-3262 or mjasper@kentuckynewera.com.

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