Council may put raises on hold

— With virtually every department likely to take a hit next year in the city's budget, the City Council wants to show that it's willing to accept some cuts as well.

The council is eligible for a pay raise this year if the voters approve it on their November ballots.

Councilwoman Arianthe Stettner said Tuesday she was not willing to accept the pay raise unless the budget could accommodate it and would forego the raise until such time as the city could pay the council members without having to scrounge for the cash.

Council members make $400 per month, a salary that has not been changed in 11 years. The council president makes $600 per month.

Last month, Stettner proposed asking the voters if they are willing to raise council salaries at the same rate as the Denver/Boulder Consumer Price Index, which measures inflation. The raise would be measured based on the inflation rate since 1989, the last time council members got a boost in salaries. That comes out to about $600 per month for council members, $700 for the council president pro tem and $800 for the council president, based on Stettner's plan. The City Council budget may be cut overall to help make room in the budget.

Stettner said she felt it was inappropriate to accept a raise when other parts of the city will be looking at cuts.

"To be truthful I would love this thing to pass, knowing the time and energy we all put into this job," she said. "But at the same time, the speed of the leader is the speed of the pack. Council needs to show some leadership for the rest of the organization and the rest of the community."

Although the council did not vote on the delay in receiving the raise, Stettner said the members were generally favorable to the idea.

Councilman Bud Romberg said he was firmly behind Stettner in her proposal.

"I think it would be the appropriate thing to do because if everyone else is going to take a hit and if the capital budget is going to take a hit, we should too."

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