[dropcap]A[/dropcap]thens City Council announced a new ordinance amendment last Monday, Dec. 1 that would establish a 2% raise increase for all City Council members, effective Jan. 1, 2016.
The proposed amendment would also raise the salaries of the mayor, auditor, president of council, director of law and the treasurer by 2% each year.
According to records supplied by the Duties of City Auditor Kathy Hecht, this would be the largest raise for City Council members since their 3% raise increase in 2011.
“They’re not allowed to raise their salaries while they’re serving, and so the reason they’re doing this now is because, all of council, their terms end [next year]. They can’t raise their salaries while running,” said Hecht.
Since 2011, members have received between 0-1% raise increases, with a 0% raise in 2012 and 2013 and a 1% raise in 2014 and 2015.
According to Hecht, a raise was not given to City Council members during 2012 and 2013 due to monetary restrictions.
“Things were really tight and Council decided not to give themselves a raise,” she said.
The raise would prove to be a benefit to the upcoming mayor as well, a position that has received raise increases of just 0.5-1% since 2012.
Raises differ based on the position at-hand, and are established after considering particular budgets and negotiations, said Hecht.
Despite the fact that pay raises have fluctuated from 0-3% throughout the past five years for all elected officials mentioned, the provided records show that the officials’ salaries have only continued to grow.
From 2009 to 2014, Mayor Paul Wiehl’s salary has increased from $70,772 to $77,376. Within these same five years Hecht’s salary has augmented from $59,124 to $66,560, and the salary for members of council has risen from $7,046 to $7,536.
Hecht considers the raise a “very small amount of money,” but believes it is well deserved and “reasonable.”
“Getting a raise for what you do is basically a reward for doing a good job,” Hecht concluded.
On Monday night Athens City Council also passed a long-debated ordinance that will require all residents to keep their garbage containers and rubbish out of street view.
This garbage and rubbish ordinance passed with a 7-1 vote.