LEWISTON – The city’s new council and Mayor Larry Gilbert could be in for an 11 percent pay raise next year.

Councilors Tuesday voted to increase the stipends their successors and those who sit on other city boards get.

Councilors approved the increases on first reading by a 4-2 vote, with Renee Bernier and Norm Rousseau voting against it. Councilors will vote on the matter a second time at their Dec. 18 meeting.

“Honestly, I feel that the people that serve on these boards and committees deserve a show of gratitude,” said Councilor Mark Paradis. Paradis suggested the changes, saying the city has not increased the stipends since 2002. Non-union wages have increased nearly 17 percent since then.

“Nobody that’s sitting on this council benefits,” he said. “We’re all leaving, but it’s still a tough decision. It’s always tough to spend that money, but I think it’s time to say to the planning and finance board members that we owe them some gratitude for their hard work.”

Rousseau disagreed, saying people don’t serve in public office, elected or otherwise, for the money.

“The job is actually priceless,” Rousseau said. “We couldn’t pay people enough for the work, and I don’t think an extra $25 per month or whatever is going to make the difference. People do it for the love of the community, not to make money.”

Gilbert, who did not attend Tuesday’s meeting, would get an additional $465 per year beginning Jan. 19, if councilors agree. The mayor’s job pays $4,200 now.

Councilors would see their stipends increased by $300, from $2,700 to $3,000. School Committee members would get an additional $135, from $1,200 to $1,335. Members of the Planning Board and the Board of Appeals would receive an additional $65 per year, from $600 to $665 and Finance Committee members would receive $55 more, from $480 to $535.

Those who sit on the Historic Preservation Review Board would be paid for their time for the first time. They get nothing now, but would receive $300 if councilors agree.

The changes would also give councilors an annual cost-of-living increase.


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