Chillicothe City Council members set salaries for elected officials during their regular meeting Monday evening at City Hall.
The salaries reflect a four percent pay increase for the full-time positions of city clerk and city auditor, as well as the part-time position of mayor. The four percent increase is the same increase that was given to city employees in 2012. The council wanted to have the salaries identified prior to the Dec. 11 opening of the candidate filing period.
Salaries approved were as follows:
Mayor: $15,080, plus $75 per meeting of the city council held after office hours and attended by the mayor, plus $200 per month car allowance, $100 per month phone allowance, and any other board fees the mayor is qualified for under law.
Council member: $75 for each meeting, regular or special of the city council;
Councilman-at-Large: The councilman-at-large shall be deemed the finance chairman and receive $75 per finance meeting of the Finance Committee and attended by the councilman-at-large;
City Clerk: Annual salary of $47,840, plus $75 per council meeting;
City Auditor: Annual salary of $47,840, plus $75 per council meeting;
City Attorney: Annual salary of $1;
City Constable: Annual salary of $1.
City Treasurer: Annual salary of $1.
Councilman-at-Large David Moore, who serves as the current finance chairman, questioned the proposal to pay finance chairman an additional $75 per Finance Committee meeting attended. He also questioned the arrangement of paying the clerk and auditor $75 extra for after-office-hours meetings they attend, and stated that in lieu of separate meeting compensation, perhaps the salaries of those positions should be increased.
Third Ward Councilman Tom Douglas said that the clerk and auditor had been paid extra per meeting they attend, but that under a previous administration, the extra pay was eliminated. The council typically has two meetings per month.
Moore also suggested that the per-meeting payment skews the percent of increase the city officials would receive. It was noted, however, that once the salaries are set, they cannot be changed in the middle of a term, meaning that the salary package would be in place for the entire two years of the elected term.
It was noted that responsibilities of the clerk had increased in the last couple of years after the city essentially eliminated the position of the city treasurer. The salaries for elected officials was approved with a 5-0 vote.
In other business Monday evening, the council approved the an ordinance adopting the 2011 National Electric Code, and approved an ordinance accepting a health insurance bid.
The city received proposals from four different insurance carriers for review and consideration. Proposed premiums varied considerably from a 14.99 percent increase proposed by Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Kansas City to an 82.2 percent increase proposed by Trustmark.
City Auditor Theresa Kelly recommended that the city continue its health insurance coverage with Blue Cross/Blue Shield. The total increase to the city's 2013 calendar year budget for health insurance benefits is estimated at $57,750. The city pays full health insurance coverage for its employees, and 25 percent for dependents.
The council also discussed measures that could be taken to improve safety at the intersection of U.S. Highway 36 and Mitchell Road. Council members expressed a need that something should be done and that the Missouri Department of Transportation should take an active role in funding an improvement. There was some discussion that a low-cost improvement could be lowering the speed limit on the highway to slow traffic especially in the area of Mitchell Road where there have been a number of accidents, including a few fatal crashes.
The council also agreed to make a site visit to the developing Chilli Bay water park on Dec. 17, prior to the regular council meeting.