Hilliard City Council members approved a salary increase for the mayor by a 5-2 vote at a Nov. 16 special meeting.

Hilliard City Council members approved a salary increase for the mayor by a 5-2 vote at a Nov. 16 special meeting.

Effective Jan. 1, the annual salary of the mayor will be $152,200. Mayor Don Schonhardt's current annual salary is $119,350 and had not been increased since 2005.

Schonhardt ran unopposed Nov. 3 in his election for a fourth term.

City Council Vice President Kelly McGivern and Councilman Les Carrier voted against the measure.

"I didn't feel comfortable voting (a greater) salary increase for the mayor than raises for the police. (The mayor) shouldn't get a bigger raise than the police," Carrier said Nov. 17.

McGivern said although she supports a salary increase for the mayor, she did not support the measure.

She suggested the mayor's salary be tied to increases for nonunion employees but said Nov. 17 that it did not gain traction.

Councilman Joe Erb, who rejected a salary increase for City Council members earlier this month but supported the mayor's raise, said Nov. 17 the mayor, compared to other area mayors and city managers, was "grossly underpaid."

"I felt council was appropriately compensated when I compared (Hilliard) to (other cities), but when I evaluated the mayor's salary against mayors and city managers in surrounding cities, I found our mayor is grossly underpaid," Erb said.

An ordinance approving a salary increase for City Council members was approved 4-3 on Nov. 2.

President Nathan Painter, McGivern, Al Iosue and Bill Uttley voted in favor of the salary increase; Tom Baker, Carrier and Erb voted against the measure.

The Nov. 2 ordinance also provided salary increases for members of the planning and zoning commission, board of zoning appeals and the share-tree commission.

Upon the suggestion of McGivern, City Council members opted to tether the annual salary of council members to the median household income in Hilliard, as reported by the Regional Income Tax Agency for the previous calendar year, in lieu of specific salary.

The annual median household income in Hilliard was approximately $85,550 in 2014, according to Doug Francis, the city's director of communications and Internet technology.

Using it, the annual salary of a council member would be $12,832 -- calculated using 15 percent of $85,550.

The ordinance also provides additional annual compensation of $1,500 for the council president and $1,000 for the vice president, respectively.

The current annual salary of council members is $7,500, with the president receiving an additional $1,000 annually and the vice president an additional $500.

Erb, Iosue and Painter ran unopposed in the Nov. 3 election. They begin new terms Jan. 1 and will be the first to receive the salary increases.

The salary increases for the other four council members' seats will not be not effective until the start of the next new terms Jan. 1, 2018.

The ordinance did not change the benefits in place since authorizing legislation was adopted in 2005.

For council members who elect coverage and choose a family health-care plan, the annual health-insurance benefit is worth about $22,000, according to finance director David Delande.

The structure of the mayor's benefits does not change and will remain equal to 35 percent of the annual salary, Francis said.

As for the other offices, effective Jan. 1, 2016, the annual salary of the chairman of the planning and zoning commission will be equal to 35 percent of the council president's salary; the salary of a commission member would be 35 percent of a council member's salary; and the salary for members of the BZA and shade-tree commission would be 20 percent of a council member's salary.

In 2016, that would be $5,016, $4,491 and $2,567, respectively, using the figure from RITA and the newly approved guidelines to make the calculations.

Previous annual salaries were: planning and zoning chairman, $2,975; planning and zoning member $2,625; and BZA member, $1,500. Shade-tree commission members were not compensated.