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Pateros City Council debates mayoral salary

— The City Council debated the terms of the mayor’s stipend when it met Monday.

Per city code, the mayor receives a monthly base stipend of $500 and can receive up to $500 more if he or she does sufficient extra work to represent the city, such as attending meetings around the region for various organizations.

When Councilman George Brady approved everything in the consent calendar but Mayor Libby Harrison’s monthly meeting plan, Councilman Alex Hymer asked why.

“I have nothing against Mayor Libby, but she’s starting from scratch,” Brady said, noting former Mayor Gail Howe was paid only $250 per month when she was first elected 12 years ago.

“I don’t anticipate that we should raise your salary for a year,” he said.

Brady suggested that instead of a meeting plan, Harrison file an activities report each month to outline the work she has done.“I think that’s a great idea and I don’t mind doing that at all,” Harrison said.

She said Howe had put in upward of 30 hours per week in her mayoral duties, a level she has yet to reach.Howe had “earned every penny” of her recent $1,000 per month salary, Harrison said.

The council approved the consent calendar, 4-1, with Hymer opposed.“If we want to change it, let’s change it,” he said of the ordinance seting the mayor’s pay. “It shouldn’t be subjective.

”When a resident asked the council members about their own pay – $47.17 per month – Brady said he doesn’t think they should make more than $50 per month.

“People should work for the council because they want to do things for Pateros,” Brady said, adding that raising the stipend would only attract candidates who are more interested in money than public service.

In other business, the council:

  • Passed an ordinance to place a measure on the April 22 ballot for a six-year levy for EMS services through Douglas Okanogan County Fire District 15. The district’s current levy, an estimated 47 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, is set to expire at the end of the year.
  • Pateros Fire Department Assistant Chief Keith Zweigle said the city’s fire rating will drop from eight to six June 1, meaning homeowners can check with their insurance companies about a discount. Fire District 15’s rating will drop from 8 to 7, he said.“Being a fire department, that’s a heck of a jump to go down two (points),” he said. “That’s huge.”
  • Approved new rules for the swim area at Peninsula Park and the splash pad on the Pedestrian Mall.
  • Brady and Howe, the town’s ambassadors, gave a brief presentation on their trip earlier this month to sister city Pateros, Philippines. Howe is planning a more detailed presentation for the 6 p.m. March 17 meeting in City Hall, 113 Lakeshore Drive.
  • American Legion Post 97 member George Pearson said he plans to start a farmer’s market in Pateros this summer. He’s working on a feasibility study with a group and trying to find a location that will appeal to vendors and have high visibility to draw customers. The market is tentatively scheduled for 2-6 p.m. Fridays.

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