By Jill Hanning
LEBANON - City Council members want to give themselves a pay raise - one they say is long overdue.
Council this week passed a first reading of legislation to increase the salaries of council members and the mayor for the first time since 1975.
Currently, each of the six council members receives $1,200 annually and the mayor receives $1,500 annually. The mayor's salary is higher because she serves on the planning commission and performs ceremonial duties.
The proposed increase would result in a new salary of $6,000 a year for council members and $9,000 a year for the mayor, a combined increase of $36,300.
"This is something that has needed to be done for a long time. I think anyone that has any sense of what we do isn't even going to blink an eye at this," said Mayor Amy Brewer.
"Even at the new rate, it's still going to have to be something you're going to have to love to do, but at least it won't be costing you money," added Vice Mayor Jim Reinhard.
City government salaries vary widely throughout Ohio, depending upon size of the city and the duties of the officials. In Hamilton, the Butler County seat, the mayor receives $11,000 a year, but council members receive only $300 annually.
Not all council members are ready to vote for the raise in a fiscally tight year.
"I did not run to become a member of council for pay. I ran to represent the citizens of this community. I think the money could be better used somewhere else," said Councilman Ronald Pandorf.
The ordinances to approve new pay rates will be voted on at the council's next meeting Feb. 11. If approved, the new rates will become effective Jan. 1, 2004.
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