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Council members give themselves a raise

Members of the Rosemount City Council will make a few more dollars in 2009. The council voted Tuesday night to raise salaries slightly to stay comparable with other similar sized metro cities.

In 2009 the four council members will receive $6,210 up from $6,000 per year. In 2010 the salary will rise again to $6,396. Assistant city administrator Emmy Foster said that amount is within the 10 percent range of the average compensation at similar sized cities.

The mayor's salary will be adjusted as well. In 2009 mayor Bill Droste will receive $8,280 and in 2010 he will receive $8,528.40. The pay increases will become effective January 1.

The last time council members and the mayor received a pay raise was in 2007.

State law requires that pay adjustments be made before the election and that any increase can not be effective until the following year.

In addition to approving a new salary the council approved an ordinance that would set parameters for how to set salary changes. The guidelines state that the mayor and council member salaries will be adjusted biennially based on the change in the cost of living over the two-year period. During even numbered years, adjustments will be based on which is less, either the Consumer Price Index, which is published by the Department of Labor, or the average amount of non-union employee cost of living adjustments. The current salary raise was adjusted on the non-union adjustment scale because it was the lower number over the last two years.

From July 2006 to July 2007 the average amount of a non-union employee cost of living adjustment increased 3.5 percent and from 2007 to 2008 it increased 3 percent. For the same periods of time the Consumer Price Index rose 8 percent.

In addition the ordinance states that salaries should be within 10 percent of the average of similar sized cities in the metro -- 15,000 to 30,000 population. The approved raise puts the city within that range.

"We don't want to lead the pack but be somewhere in the middle," Foster said.

According to a memo to the city council a review of 25 similar sized cities in the metro the average council salary is $6,444 per year. For mayors the average was $8,446 per year.