Canal Winchester's mayor could be in for a raise beginning in 2018 if the City Council agrees to it. Council members have not, however, proposed a pay increase for themselves.

Legislation to set the salaries and benefits for the mayor and the city's seven elected council members received the first of three readings at council's May 15 meeting. A decision must be made by July 1, according to city ordinances.

If approved, the mayor's salary would increase by 6.5 percent to $95,983 annually beginning Jan. 1, 2018, running through Dec. 31, 2019. The salary and benefits package includes $500 per month in compensation for the use of the mayor's personal vehicle in conducting city business.

In 2015, Mayor Michael Ebert's annual salary was set at $90,125 through the end of this year. It was $85,000 in 2014.

Every two years, council has the option of reviewing and voting on salary and benefits changes, which then take effect the following year after a new city council and -- during mayoral election years -- a new mayor have been elected.

"If you want someone who's good and someone to run, you need to have a good salary and benefits package," said Council President Steve Donahue. "We don't have a city manager, so the mayor has a lot of duties."

According to the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission's 2016 Annual Salary & Fringe Benefit Survey, Canal Winchester's mayor is above the average $85,262 pay for central Ohio communities that have a mayor with no city manager or administrator. Bexley's mayor earns $107,702 annually.

"Comparison to other cities in the area is difficult as we are unique in many ways," city Finance Director Amanda Jackson said. "While we look at neighboring communities, we have to take into consideration the responsibilities of our mayor and council as well as our overall budget. Ultimately, council makes the decision as to mayor and council salaries."

The proposed ordinance calls for council member salaries to remain at $6,592 annually. The council president would continue to be paid $7,251 and the council vice president would be paid $6,921.

During a May 1 council work session, Councilman Bruce Jarvis said he didn't see any harm "in holding the line" on council salaries until the next salary review. However, Councilwoman Bobbie Mershon suggested a 3 percent increase for council members.

The salary and benefit proposals also allow the mayor and council members to opt out of the city's medical, dental, vision and life insurance plans for an incentive. All city employees have this option.

The cash incentive equals 20 percent of the city-paid premiums for benefits.

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