City council has split vote on raising salaries

COLUMBUS, Ind. — Columbus City Council members are split on the idea of raising their own salaries 6% in 2023.

The council voted 4-2 on Tuesday to approve the first reading of an ordinance fixing the salaries of elected officials for 2023. Democrats Elaine Hilber and Tom Dell voted against the motion. Councilman David Bush (R) was not present.

Ordinances require two readings for full approval, and the council’s next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 18.

The council also approved the first readings of salary ordinances for city employees, both sworn and civilian, as well as the first reading of the city’s 2023 budget. According to Director of Finance, Operations and Risk Jamie Brinegar, the city is budgeting a 7.9% salary increase for sworn positions and a 6% increase for civilian positions.

The latter includes a 5% cost of living adjustment (COLA) and the possibility of merit raises. It does not mean that each person will receive a 6% raise. The increase for sworn personnel, on the other hand, is a 7.9% increase for base pay.

The proposed 2023 salary for Mayor Jim Lienhoop is $108,347, compared to $102,214 in 2022. For Clerk-Treasurer Luann Welmer, it is $89,848; her current salary is $84,762. Each council member has a proposed salary of $15,984; their current salaries are $15,079.

For more on this story, see Thursday’s Republic.