Avon council pay increase edited down to flat increase

By NICOLE HENNESSY

AVON – The Avon City Council pay increase discussion seemed to go silent. Until now.

Council and its finance committee members have been hashing out new details. Well into last week, the particulars were being finalized with intent to have the ordinance ready to be passed by emergency on its first reading at the special meeting following Council’s July 3 meeting (or by emergency July 10).

The measure must be passed before July 10 to meet an early August deadline by which a pay increase must be in place and all ward council members and new ward candidates must pull petitions with the county to run for seats on Council. This would ensure the ward seats see a raise at least by 2020 (after at-large members run once again for their seats) rather than 2022, which would be the case if the raises were approved after July 10.

A $2,500 pay increase across the board is now being proposed.

The item was pulled from a May 22 council agenda and sent back to Council’s finance committee, for further discussion. Though, the committee’s June meeting ended up being cancelled.

The ordinance originally left the finance committee May 1 after a monthlong discussion with two council members (Dennis McBride and Bob Butkowski) voting in favor of the raise. Councilwoman Tammy Holtzmeier, however, voted “no.”

Holtzmeier remains firmly against any raises.

As the proposed ordinance stood when it was sent back to committee May 22, it would amount to a 22 percent pay increase, bringing council members’ annual salaries to $15,250 from the current $12,500. The council president’s salary would increase from $15,500 to $18,500. The last increase was in 2010, before which members were earning $10,000 and the president $13,000.

It was the 22 percent increase that many on Council had trouble with, concerned the number is too high.

Avon council members are currently the highest paid in the area. Avon Lake City Council voted to give its members a $2,000 annual raise effective January 2016, bringing members’ salaries to $12,000 and the council president’s salary to $14,000.

In neighboring Westlake, a 2016 ordinance put automatic pay increases in place over the next several years. By 2020, council members will be making $16,320 and the council president will be pulling in $24,480 annually.

After the 22 percent raise was essentially shot down, McBride began considering an incremental increase system similar to Westlake’s.

“But nobody could agree,” he said.

 


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