Amherst city council moves $100K, weighs salary bumps

By Jason Hawk -

Salary increases for a range of Amherst officials will get at least one more reading before going into effect.

City council did pass two items Monday shuffling money around to pay end-of-the-year bills.

The first covers law director contracts and professional service costs while the second moves just slightly more than $100,000 to pay for unforeseen expenses.

Among the latter are $60,481 for police for pensions, part-time wages, overtime, and other salary costs; and $17,400 for part-time firefighter wages.

“We do not have crystal balls,” mayor David Taylor said when asked by council members about the appropriations. He said such transfers are routine in November and December.

The final council meeting of 2015 is expected to come Dec. 14, barring any holiday emergencies.

At that meeting, salary increases for the mayor, safety-service director, city council, and clerk of council are expected to get final votes.

Some on council argued in November that the mayor’s position needs a much larger hike than the one proposed, which will set mayor-elect Mark Costilow’s salary at $54,057 plus benefits.

Among the arguments were that Amherst’s mayoral salary is not on par with similar cities’ and a higher wage would attract a higher caliber of candidate in upcoming elections.

Other salary proposals include $17,255 for the safety-service director, $7,308 for president of council, $6,521 for council members, and $20,637 for the clerk of council.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-988-2801 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.

By Jason Hawk