Councilman John Beresford has put forth a resolution to the council to raise councilmember pay from $2,100 a year to $8,000 and raise mayor pay from $3,000 to $10,000 a year.
Beresford last broached the topic of a compensation hike for council members and the mayor at the council’s last meeting, suggesting the same roughly 300 percent raises.
But a vote was not taken because council members and the mayor said they didn’t receive a copy of the resolution.
Now, with resolution in hand, the City Council is set to vote on the issue Thursday.
Mayor Gene Hobgood said Monday if the resolution passes, he may choose to veto it, as he did in December when the council passed the same pay raises.
“I’ll certainly look at it very closely and give (vetoing) a lot of thought,” Hobgood said.
Hobgood said he isn’t sure though whether or not the council will vote to sustain that action again, as it did in December.
Beresford said the council won’t sustain.
“We’ll override the veto” he said.
Beresford said Monday the raises are too long-overdue to not make changes now.
“Bottom line … it was necessary six years ago, and it’s the same issue,” Beresford said. “I’m bringing it back, and hopefully it passes. If it doesn’t, that’s the way it goes.”
Beresford said his persistence is because current compensation is too low for the amount of work he and other council members put in.
“We aren’t talking a 40-hour week,” he said. “We’re talking 24/7. I get calls (all the time).”
Hobgood said the changes may be necessary, but now isn’t the time, as city employees haven’t received a raise that “amounts to anything” in several years.
Beresford though said that when factoring in recent changes to council members’ pension plans, the compensation raises would not cost the city any more money.
Should the resolution pass, Beresford said some sitting council members could benefit from the raises.
But he said that can’t be avoided with council seats coming up for election at different times.
Beresford’s term runs out this year.
He said he hasn’t made up his mind on whether he’ll seek re-election or not.
“I figure I can take so much abuse,” said the councilman, who has a history of heated discussion at council meetings and bringing up controversial topics. “And I probably haven’t hit my limit yet.”