HOWELL – The Township Council has introduced an ordinance that will, if adopted, provide for an annual 2% salary increase for council members once the current maximum salary of $12,000 has been reached.
During a meeting on Jan. 18, council members voted 3-2 along party lines to introduce the ordinance.
Republican Deputy Mayor Pamela Richmond, Republican Councilwoman Evelyn O’Donnell and Republican Councilwoman Suzanne Brennan voted “yes” on a motion to introduce the ordinance.
Democratic Mayor Theresa Berger and Democratic Councilman John Bonevich voted “no” on the motion.
A public hearing on the ordinance has been scheduled for Feb. 1. The council may adopt the ordinance following the public hearing.
At present, the salary range for a council member is $7,000 to $12,000.
Bonevich explained why he voted “no” when the motion was made to introduce the ordinance.
“At this time, with the (coronavirus) pandemic, inflation and so many people still out of work, I think our focus should be on the town, not ourselves. I did not run for council for the paycheck. I ran so I could represent the residents,” the councilman said.
Berger said, “My top priority as mayor is to keep taxes and spending down. For these three council members to vote themselves a 60% salary increase is an insult to Howell taxpayers.”
The ordinance states that “when the compensation for the Township Council reaches the $12,000 maximum end of the (salary) range, then commencing Jan. 1 of each year thereafter, the salary of members of the council shall be increased annually by 2%, which is consistent with the annual increase set forth in various township collective bargaining agreements.”
Newly elected or appointed members of the council will be compensated the same amount as all other members are being compensated, according to the ordinance.