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Winder proposes raising mayor's, council's salaries

WINDER - Winder's upcoming mayor and council members might get a raise, their first in 25 and 27 years, respectively, according to City Clerk Sabrina Wall.

The proposed raise will not affect the current mayor and council unless they are re-elected.

Winder City Council members will vote Wednesday whether to raise the mayor's salary from $1,000 per month to $1,740 and council members' from $200 per month to $500.

The mayor's salary has not changed since 1982. City Council members got their last raise in 1980.

If passed, the raises will go into effect from 2008 to 2010, as new mayors and council members are elected.

State law prohibits elected officials from increasing their pay, according to Winder City Manager Bob Beck.

This is an election year in which Winder residents will elect a mayor and three council members.

"We have been blessed in Winder with longevity of our council," Beck said. "The average tenure of our councilmen is 18 years. I don't know why they haven't considered raising the compensation earlier."

Auburn's mayor earns $300 per month and its council members are paid $50 per meeting, which includes at least two city council meetings per month. Auburn voted this year to raise the incoming mayor's salary to $1,500 per month and council members' to $400.

Carl's mayor earns $100 per month and its councilmen $60. Statham's mayor earns $1,000 per month and its council members $500.

Bethlehem mayor Wayne Ridgeway said Bethlehem's officials have not gotten a raise in at least 25 years, maybe longer.

Bethlehem City Council members earn $20 per meeting and they have about 15 meetings per year. The mayor of Bethlehem earns $50 per meeting.

Braselton's mayor and council members received no pay prior to 2002. In 2002, when newly elected officials took office, the mayor began earning $400 per month and council members $100 per month.

Winder resident John Jackson said he is agreeable to the increase.

"It depends on how many hours per week they work," Jackson said. "Mechanics get 60-something per hour for their work. That kind of work, plus all the calls they get after hours, because I have called my councilman myself. Yes, I think that is very fair. They are doing their job because they are concerned about the community. They are obviously not in it for the money."

The mayor and council positions can be a 24-hour, seven-day-per-week job, said Raenelle Stockmeier, Statham's assistant city clerk.

"The mayor is here every day," she said.