No action was taken once again on a proposed 20-percent salary increase for city department heads after the Mayor and Board of Aldermen formally approved a $7.9 million general fund budget for Fiscal 2015 last week, reducing taxes slightly.

The budget includes monies to fund the salary increase as well as 2-percent cost-of-living raises for all other city employees.

Aldermen lowered the millage rate from 20 to 18 after doubling it last year to make up shortfalls.

The city's share of the Philadelphia Public Schools' budget was also reduced by .6 mills for Fiscal 2015 for debt service.

The lack of action by aldermen on the salary increase sparked Ward 1 Alderman Josh Gamblin to question whether the board was "kicking the issue down the road" for future debate.

Gamblin proposed the salary "adjustments" weeks ago, saying the salaries of city department heads were low when compared to others in cities similar in size and population to Philadelphia.

Aldermen also took no action on the proposal 2-percent raise for all other city employees, which was also proposed by Gamblin.

The police chief would be excluded from the proposed pay hike as he was hired in December, he said.

Alderman-at-Large Willie Jackson, who had earlier voiced support for a pay hike but slightly less than 20 percent, asked if the money in each department's budget would be left over at the end of the fiscal year should the raises not be granted.

Mayor James A. Young, who supports the pay hike, said the money was in the budgets for the new year and, if not used, would be leftover at the end.

"You don't have to give the raises but that money is in the budget," Young said.

The proposed 20-percent raises would bring the fire chief's and city clerk's salaries from $42,057 to $50,468; the street foreman's from $38,209 to $45,850; the cemetery and animal control foreman's from $36,483 to $43,779; the court clerk's from $29,910 to $35,892; the building official's from $34,091 to $40,909; and the landfill foreman's from $35,172 to $42,206.

The police chief's salary would remain at $55,000.

Ward 3 Alderman James Tatum and Ward 4 Aldermen Cecil Nichols had previously voiced support for the 20-percent raises for department heads while Ward 2 Alderman Jim Fulton and Jackson have favored a lower amount.

Nichols had earlier voiced support also for higher raises for the assistant fire chief and the assistant police chief but received no response from other aldermen.

To generate additional revenue for the $7.9 million general fund budget, the board plans to shift about $650,000 from reserves to pay off a loan on the park and infrastructure for Lowe's.

The projected $483,000 in sales tax revenue currently being diverted to a Tax Increment Financing fund to pay the loan on the park and Lowe's will instead go to the general fund.

Gamblin said the $650,000 would be set aside to pay off the TIF loan over the next six years and to satisfy the city's requirement with the state.

City officials had hoped to pay off the TIF loan this year but that would require the county to fulfill its share of the cost which is just over $300,000.

The TIF loan was secured for park improvements and for infrastructure to bring the Lowe's development. In other action, aldermen:

• Approved a resolution to apply for a Mississippi Department of Archives and History grant to renovate the Police Station.

• Paid Waggoner Engineering $6,187 for professional services on the Police Station roof repair project.

• Tabled the discussion for the city to participate in the 2015 District Six Regional Hazardous Mitigation Plan at a 10 percent cost share until the next meeting.

• Tabled the appointment of Jay Eakes as the designated representative for the city on the development of the District Six Regional Hazardous Mitigation Plan until the next meeting.

• Approved the purchase of two 2014 P.I. sedans from Watson Quality Ford at a cost of $27,100, which is below state contract.

• Approved officers Pat Burt, Eric Lyons and Chief Grant Myers to attend a state Safe Training Conference in Olive Branch on Sept. 22-25 and pay travel expenses. All expenses except travel are reimbursable from the state.

• Authorized the mayor to attend a Mississippi Municipal League Board Conference in Hernando on Sept. 12.

• Accepted a grant from Mississippi Office of Homeland Security in the amount of $100,000 for use by the regional task force headed by Fire Chief Pierce Clark which also includes some members of the Philadelphia Fire Department.

• Employed Rusty Cumberland and Billy Tally as probationary firefighters.

• Entered into executive session to discuss an industrial matter.•

Approved an ordinance granting a non-exclusive franchise to Telepak Networks to lay, construct, maintain, replace, repair, and operate fiber optic cable in the city of Philadelphia.