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Councilman considers offering bill to reduce elected officials' pay

View or download the complete March budget report, linked within the article.

View or download the complete March budget report, linked within the article.

One Jefferson City council member is considering whether to offer a bill to nearly eliminate the salary of the city’s elected officials.

At the Finance Committee meeting Tuesday, 3rd Ward Councilman Bryan Pope, who will leave the council next month, said he is trying to decide if he will offer a bill to be placed on the agenda for Monday night’s council meeting that would reduce the salary for elected officials to $1 per year. Because of the way the charter is written, if Pope offers the bill and it is passed, it would affect only those council members being sworn in next month.

Currently, City Council members receive $450 per month and the mayor received $900 per month. According to the city charter, “the council shall determine the annual compensation of councilmen by ordinance, but the salary of a councilman shall not be increased or diminished during his term.” The charter also states “the salary of the mayor shall be fixed by ordinance, and shall not be increased or diminished during the mayor’s term of office.” Council members and the mayor are both able to receive “reasonable reimbursement for actual and necessary expenses.”

Pope said he is unhappy about leaving the council when public perception of the city’s elected officials is at such a low point.

“The council is at about its lowest opinion by the public,” Pope said. “In these difficult times, it would help.”

Pope said he would hope the bill would improve the city’s image, as well as gradually save the roughly $64,000 per year spent on the salaries of elected officials.

How he will make his decision will be based on whether his proposal receives support from fellow council members. If anyone indicates they would be willing to co-sponsor the bill, Pope said he will add it to Monday night’s agenda.

“Right now, we’re suffering,” Pope said. “I’d be happy to hear from anyone that would like to be a co-sponsor.”

In other business, the March sales tax receipts for the 1 percent general sales tax came in $15,552 above projections. Interim Finance Director Bill Betts said the sales tax numbers have been adjusted to reflect the lowered projections approved by the city in the past few weeks and, by using the lower projections, the receipts may continue to show revenues coming in above the new projections.

“We think they’re going to continue to be in the vicinity where they’re slightly above,” Betts said.

The half-cent capital improvement sales tax came in $3,941 above the lowered projections and the half-cent parks sales tax came in $175,289 above projections for March.

The city’s lodging tax collections were reported at $1.788 million from May 2011 to January 2013. Of the total funds collected, three of the seven cents goes to the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the rest goes to the city’s conference center fund. That fund was reported at just more than $1 million, with an average monthly collection of $47,705.

Betts said even though the monthly average is below the projected $50,000, the city still feels comfortable that it will collect enough to provide $9 million to fund a conference center.

Betts also presented the committee with a monthly budget report and a report on the fund balance.

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