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Councilors consider first pay raise in 14 years

Superior City Councilors could get their first pay raise in 14 years come April if members can agree it's warranted. The council last month budgeted a 33 percent increase for those elected during the next two years. However, the move was narrowly...

Superior City Councilors could get their first pay raise in 14 years come April if members can agree it's warranted.

The council last month budgeted a 33 percent increase for those elected during the next two years. However, the move was narrowly defeated to eliminate the additional revenue in the council budget for the salary increases.

Mayor Dave Ross proposed the salary increase, seeing it as long overdue. While wages for city staff increase annually, the council last received a pay raise in 1994. Since then, pay raises were twice rejected -- a 33 percent increase in 2001 and a 3 percent increase proposed in 2003. The 2003 proposal would have increased council salaries by $72 per year.

Currently, councilors receive $300 per month. The proposal would increase that to $400.

Garnering approval for the proposal could be a tough job.

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During budget negotiations, Council President Ed Anderson and councilors Chuck Hendry, Bob Finsland, Nick Milroy and Esther Dalbec voted to kill the measure. Councilors Tom Quick, Tom Bridge, Kevin Norbie and Jackie Stenberg wanted money left in the budget for pay increases. Councilor Dennis Dalbec, a retired police officer, abstained from the vote because he's never accepted the council stipend in his seven years on the council.

To get a pay raise next year, six councilors would have to approve a change in city ordinance. Then, only councilors who serve odd-numbered districts would benefit from the increase.

Wisconsin law only allows the council to vote for pay increases that would affect successor members. Councilors serving in even numbered districts wouldn't benefit from the change unless re-elected in 2009.

None of those voting on the salary increase would benefit from the pay raise unless they are re-elected to office the next time their terms expire. For odd-numbered districts -- Quick, Norbie, Anderson and Finsland -- that day is in April if re-elected. Bridge, Stenberg, Hendry, Milroy and Esther Dalbec face election challenges in April 2009.

Contact Shelley Nelson at snelson@superiortelegram.com or (715) 395-5022.

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