The 2012 budget is up for consideration again Tuesday before the Pine Bluff City Council, where one of the key debates is expected to be over what kind of raises to give city employees in 2012.

The 2012 budget is up for consideration again Tuesday before the Pine Bluff City Council, where one of the key debates is expected to be over what kind of raises to give city employees in 2012.

The council meets at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in council chambers at the civic complex. City offices are closed Monday for the New Year’s holiday.

The Public Safety Committee meets at 4 p.m. Tuesday in council chambers and the Ways and Means and Ordinances and Resolutions committees meet at 5 p.m. in the meeting room adjoining council chambers.

The city has until Jan. 31 to approve a budget. The vote was put off at the last council meeting in 2011 because of the absence of two council members.

Mayor Carl A. Redus Jr. proposes a 4.1 percent raise for most full-time city employees, an 8 percent raise for police sergeants and lieutenants and a 5.5 percent raise for minimum-wage employees.

Alderman Thelma Walker and Alderman Irene Holcomb propose an $1,800 raise for all employees.

Regardless of which type of raise is given, organizations representing the police and fire departments have requested the amounts to be spent on their departments total $600,000 — a figure frequently mentioned in the campaign for the five-eighths-cent sales tax.

Redus disputes their argument, saying that the stated figure was “up to $600,000.”

According to numbers provided by the city finance department, the $1,800 raise would provide public safety employees with $648,490 in raises and associated costs, while the percentage-based raise would result in $572,628 in public safety raises and associated costs.

Walker and Holcomb argue their proposal is more equitable for all employees, especially low-paid employees who they say need the raises the most.

Redus argues that Walker and Holcomb’s proposal would require cuts elsewhere in the budget and runs contrary to the normal practice for calculating cost of living increases by the Consumer Price Index. Redus has said his proposal was thoroughly researched with the held of the finance and human resources departments. Redus also argues that higher-paid employees deserve to be rewarded for the expertise they bring to their positions.

Both proposed raises would apply to elected officials.

Saenger Theatre

In other business, the council will consider whether to accept a donation of the historic Saenger Theatre in downtown Pine Bluff.

Several items related to the proposal are on the agenda:

• A proposed resolution that would accept the donation of the Saenger and its neighboring annex building to the city from Old Town Theatres Centre Inc.

• A proposed resolution that would set up a memorandum of understanding for how the city and Old Town will jointly continue to raise money for the theater and manage the property.

• And a proposed ordinance, up for its first reading, that would add a line item to the city budget for the Saenger. It includes an emergency clause, which, if adopted by the council, would cause the ordinance to go into immediate effect.

It is not included on the agenda, but Redus has previously proposed a $35,500 budget adjustment to replace the roof on the Saenger: $16,000 in General Improvement Fund contributions from four area state legislators; $14,500 in miscellaneous city funds; and $5,000 from Old Town Theatre Centres Inc.

Old Town Theatres has been attempting to raise money to replace the theater’s roof for much of the year. Supporters hope that shifting ownership to the city and contributing city funds to the project will allow it to get started quickly. Supporters have warned that without a roof replacement, the structure may soon be beyond repair.

The proposal has the support of the Historic District Commission and the recommendation of the Public Works Committee.

A vote was postponed at the last council meeting when some aldermen asked for more time to research and consider the proposal.

Other business

In other business, the council will consider:

• Three proposals from Alderman Steven Mays regarding the establishment or revival of commissions and committees with the goal of reducing crime. Similar measures failed at the last council meeting for lack of support. Mays is proposing: reviving a Commission on Children and Youth, a Neighborhood Watch Advisory Committee and a group of city leaders to facilitate communication with the recently revived Crime Advisory Committee.

• A proposed resolution authorizing the sale of 5421 W. Short 4th Ave. on installment to Linda Cole and family through one of the city’s homebuyer assistance program.

• And a proposed resolution authorizing the city to purchase property as part of the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration Neighborhood Stabilization Program. The list of property is not included in the proposed resolution, but the resolution states that a list will be provided to the council at a later date.