By CCT STAFF
Amid negative feedback from the community, at the second reading of an ordinance to increase the mayor’s pay by 97 percent and the remaining council members pay by 60 percent, last week the council voted 4-1 to delay their pay raises until 2022. Councilman Jimmy Paulding dissented.
During the first discussion of the ordinance, on Nov. 12, Councilwoman Lan George sought to delay the raises, but lost after Mayor Caren Ray-Russom, Councilman Keith Storton and Councilwoman Kristen Barneich argued that the raises needed to go into effect in 2020.
However, last week Storton reversed his earlier decision, and made a motion to make the raises effective in 2022.
Storton, whose term ends in 2022, said he had received a lot of feedback from the community since the council’s Nov. 12 vote, and that he wasn’t interested in the raise for himself, but thinks it is important for future councils.
City residents Coleen Kubel and Patricia Price asserted that with infrastructure shortfalls and the rising costs associated with the Five Cities Fire Authority, the increases were “bad timing.”
Ray-Russom argued against the two-year delay, and if passed, she wanted an additional 5 percent raise.
Storton disagreed with raising the compensation any further, as did the majority of the council, including Lan George and Jimmy Paulding.
The council then voted to increase the council compensation from $405 to $648 per month, with the mayor receiving $748 per month beginning in Dec. 2022.
In the last year, the city paid nearly $90,000 to council members in compensation and benefits.