Mayor Andy Adams will forfeit a financial incentive this year in consideration of the 2015 tax increase.
Just before budget deliberations wrapped up last Wednesday at city hall, Adams made one last motion.
“Mayor and council received a cost of living increase to their council stipend and I want to make the motion that the mayor’s stipend be frozen to the 2014 rate and forgo the 2015 increase,” Adams said.
That means a reduction of $675 to the mayor’s wages.
While the city’s 2014 Statement of Financial Information has yet to be released, in 2013 the mayor – who at the time was Walter Jakeway – made $61,294.
Adams said last week that he’s not giving up a lot but said he thought it was an important gesture.
“It’s a small amount but I think it is sending a message to the community,” Adams said. “I don’t think anybody sits on council for the financial aspects of it and I think knowing we have a tax increase, we also have a Parks Parcel Tax increase and we have some other ones, that I would gladly forgo that in the interests of the community.”
Coun. Ron Kerr was impressed.
“I’ll say that’s very admirable of Mayor Adams,” he said.
Coun. Charlie Cornfield liked the idea so much that he also attempted to give up the increase to his stipend.
The rest of council, however, defeated Cornfield’s motion to do so. Coun. Larry Samson said it didn’t make sense for each councillor to individually give up the stipend.
“While I commend Coun. Cornfield for it, I don’t think we should be going councillor by councillor,” Samson said. “If council as a whole decides it wants to go by the example that (Adams) has led by, that would be one thing, but a councillor has options to donate that stipend to a charity or different programs, such as Success by 6, whatever they feel.”
Cornfield agreed and said he only singled himself out because he didn’t want to speak for the other councillors without having a discussion first.
“Most of our stipend ends up in local charities at any rate,” Cornfield said. “The only reason I moved it for myself is I didn’t want to talk for anyone else. I don’t have a problem with that, if it makes other councillors uncomfortable I can withdraw it.”
Had the motion been approved, Cornfield would have given up approximately $450.