NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - Following an eight-year salary freeze, the New Rochelle City Council has narrowly voted to give themselves a moderate pay raise beginning next year.
At Tuesday’s City Council Meeting, officials voted by a margin of 4 to 3 that council member's salaries would be raised from $33,968 to $38,941 while the mayor will now take home more than $100,000 after previously earning $88,971 for his “full-time” role.
The pay raises will come into effect as of Jan. 1. It is the first raise for city officials since 2008.
Initially, the legislation included annual raises in correlation to the Consumer Price Index, but at Tuesday’s meeting, Councilman Jared Rice called for an audible that would take that off the table while maintaining the “modest” raise. He cited the council’s busy schedule, in both an official and unofficial capacity as reason to support the salary bump.
“Periodically, from time to time, it’s pretty standard for elected officials to get raises and this City Council hasn’t had one in eight years,” he said. “With that, knowing the workload we put in as a council person, going to two meetings a month and serving on several committees (is a lot.)
“There’s also constituent services on a daily basis and the events we have to go to on nights and weekends. We all work very hard and I’m proud of the work we do in New Rochelle and think most people understand that the City Council members get raises.”
The salary increase was approved by Mayor Noam Bramson, Rice, Liz Fried and Barry Fertel, who initiated the legislation earlier this year. Council members Louis Trangucci, Ivar Hyden and Albert Tarantino - who said the raises were “not something we need right now” - opposed.
“I haven’t supported this from the get-go, and don’t want to make judgements about it or my fellow council members’ value or how hard they work, but for me personally, I don’t feel comfortable at this stage,” Hyden said. “I’d much rather wait until we are actually delivering not he developments and processes we have going on, when revenue is coming into the city in greater amounts.”
Ultimately, Fertel said that he believed it was time for the council to accept a pay increase after the eight year salary freeze.
“There is a very positive financial picture that the city has been presented with, and I think this is a very modest adjustment and is appropriate,” he said. “The work and effort is appropriate, and I understand that many are upset about this, but I think we should do what’s right, which is why I voted ‘yes.’”