Whitehall's elected officials, including the mayor and some members of City Council, would receive salary increases beginning in 2020 if proposed legislation is approved.
City Council President Jim Graham proposed the legislation that was expected to be introduced and receive the first of its three readings Dec. 4.
In all, council is considering six separate ordinances -- one each for mayor, auditor, treasurer, city attorney, council president and members of City Council.
If approved, the salary increases would be effective Jan. 1, 2020, for the mayor, treasurer, city attorney, council president and the three at-large members of council, but raises would not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2022, for the auditor and the four members of council elected by ward.
That's because auditor and ward representatives are in the middle of their terms, while the remainder of the elected officials' terms end Dec. 31, 2019, Graham said.
Council members last approved salary increases in 2014 that were effective Jan. 1, 2016, according to council clerk Mary Freimark.
Graham said he looked at the salary schedules for similar positions in other cities, as well as a Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission study of salary averages for elected officials, and felt it was time to consider raises.
In addition, Graham said, city employees who are not elected typically receive cost-of-living and merit-based salary increases each year or annual raises though collective-bargaining agreements.
"But elected officials are not allowed to receive (midterm) salary increases, so we can only do it, at the least, every four years," Graham said.
As currently proposed, the annual salary of the mayor would increase to $95,000 from the current annual salary of $82,500, effective Jan. 1, 2020.
The salary of the auditor would increase to $90,000 from the current salary of $80,000, effective Jan. 1, 2022.
The salary of the city attorney would increase to $90,000 from the current salary of $80,000, effective Jan. 1, 2020.
The salary of the treasurer, a part-time position, would increase to $12,500 from the current salary of $8,500, effective Jan, 1, 2020.
The salary of council president would increase to $12,000 from the current salary of $6,600, effective Jan. 1, 2020.
The salaries of council members would increase to $6,500 from the current salary of $5,200.
The new council salary is effective Jan. 1, 2020, for the three at-large members and Jan. 1, 2022, for the four ward representatives of council.
The increases might seem like a lot, percentage-wise, but not when compared with other city employees who receive 2 or 3 percent increases every year, Graham said.
Each of the salary increases is slightly greater than the increased salaries proposed in the original legislation that Graham presented as draft legislation at the Nov. 27 meeting of council committees.
Graham said Nov. 30 he was "a little surprised" the salary proposals were increased following discussion at the committee meetings.
"Even so, they are still below what most other mayors and council members earn," Councilman Wes Kantor said, who voted against the salary increases that the majority of council approved in 2014.
Kantor said he is yet undecided on the 2020 increases, "but this might the first time I approve it. We have accomplished a lot the past three years and do a lot of work. It would not be out of line to consider raises are deserved."