By Tia Lynn Ivey
After 24 years of stagnant pay, the Madison Mayor and City Council is considering giving themselves a raise.
The mayor and council discussed options for raising the respective salaries of the mayor, mayor pro tem, and council members. The last increase was passed in 1996.
City Manager David Nunn, presented numbers based on the Consumer Pricing Index (CPI) which is used to determine pay scales for all other city employees. According to the CPI, if the council were to adopt the increased rate for 2018, their salaries would go up by 63 percent. If the CPI rates were adopted, the Mayor’s salary would jump up from $8,400 per year to $13,697 per year, Mayor Pro Tem’s salary would increase from $6,000 per year to $9,783, and the other council members’ salaries would increase from $5,400 per year to $8,805.
“Obviously these numbers are high because it’s been so long since the last increase,” noted Nunn. “This is just to give everyone an idea where it could be based on the CPI.”
All of the council members agreed that a 63 percent increase in their salaries would be too high, but will come up with a more moderate increase to vote discuss and vote upon at the next regular meeting on Monday, March 11 at 5:30 p.m. The meeting is held in the City’s meeting hall located at 160 North Main Street, Suite 400 in Madison.
Councilman Rick Blanton suggested the increase be between $100-$150 per month.
“I think everyone in here is worth what the CPI would reflect, but personally that’s a lot,” said Blanton.
“Yes, it’s too aggressive what the CPI would dictate,” said Councilman Eric Joyce. “I think what is important for the public that has legitimate concerns about this, is for them to know that we are making the same as council members were making in 1996…After having taken office, I am surprised myself the kind of time that goes into what we all do for the city—the training time, discussion time, reaching out to citizens—it is a lot more time than I ever anticipated and takes away income we could make at our regular jobs. The important thing is that it’s been 24 years and we don’t make very much money. On an hourly basis, we would be better off mowing lawns.”
Once the council agrees upon a rate increase and votes to pass it, the increase rates will come into effect in January of 2020.
“According to the law, any salary increase for the council cannot go into effect until after the next municipal election, which takes place in November of 2019, with officials coming into office in January of 2020,” explained Nunn.
“We don’t do this for the money, we do it for the love of Madison, said Mayor Fred Perriman. “I think it’s time to give our council an increase and it’s time to move forward.”