Urbana gives first OK to raise for elected officials

URBANA — The city's elected officials could get raises beginning in 2014 after they gave preliminary support to a proposal setting salaries for the term of the next city council.

Mayor Laurel Prussing, City Clerk Phyllis Clark and all seven alderpersons are up for election in spring 2013, and state law requires that elected officials set pay for the next term before it begins.

Under the proposal, all the officials would get no raises in the first year, 1 percent raises in May 2014 and 2 percent raises in 2015 and 2016.

That would raise the mayor's salary from $61,643 now to $64,774 in 2016. The city clerk would go from $54,246 to $57,002 by 2016 and each alderperson would go from $6,164 to $6,478.

"What I'd like to do is keep our salary increases consistent with our revenue," Prussing said. "And our revenue has started to come up in most categories."

She said the increase for aldermen and alderwomen is only $314 over the entire term. And she reminded council members that they are setting salaries for four years into the future.

"If you don't have a change for four years, it gets pretty out of line," Prussing said.

Alderman Brandon Bowersox-Johnson, D-Ward 4, said increases for elected officials can be important to enable different kinds of people to hold office, from full-time parents to full-time workers.

"I think that it's important to try as much as we can to keep pace with the cost of living simply because of the diversity of the pool of representatives here," he said.

Alderman Dennis Roberts, D-Ward 5, said he spends a lot of time on some projects and sometimes pays out of pocket to attend meetings or other functions.

"I think it's unrealistic to think that a person can continue to do that kind of service completely on their own," he said.

A formal vote on the proposal is scheduled for next week.

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