City of Goshen greenlights pay increases

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By Kenny Colston

The City of Goshen has given its future commissioners and mayor a raise for the first time in at least six years, Mayor Bob Thacker said.

Starting in January, the mayor of the City of Goshen will make $300 a month, up from $150 and city commissioners will make $150 a month, up from $100.

Thacker said the city passed a new ordinance with the increases in hopes of attracting more people to serve on the small city commission.

“We’re not going to be here forever,” Thacker said. “We need to entice people to run.”

Thacker said the last three election cycles have seen just the bare minimum run for the city’s elected offices, with himself running for mayor and the same four people running for commission seats.

Thacker admitted raising compensation was a difficult conversation to have, but necessary.

“Several commissioners have been here for multiple terms and eventually, they’re going to move on,” he said.

In addition to base pay raises, the new ordinance also allows for extra pay to chair committees. The mayor or city commissioner may receive up to $75 for attending a “qualified assignment” like chairing a committee. For any special meeting attended, the mayor or commissioner would receive their base pay rate for attending the meeting.

The ordinance caps compensation for the mayor at $750 a month and $450 a month for a commissioner. It also caps yearly compensation for the mayor and commissioners as what is set forth in state law for a fifth-class city.

Thacker said the increased compensation issue began when one commissioner inquired about reimbursement for the use of his cell phone for city business. Since reimbursement would have made the commissioner’s personal cell phone turn into a city cell phone, commissioner members chose the increased compensation route instead.

The ordinance was introduced on April 21 at the city’s regularly scheduled meeting. It was read for a second time and passed unanimously at a special meeting held two days later, April 23, Thacker said.

Thacker said the reason the commission didn’t wait until their next meeting in May is due to state law on raising compensation for city legislative bodies. Waiting until the May meeting would have meant missing the deadline and therefore being delayed another four years, because state law requires compensation ordinances to take place in election years, Thacker said.

Thacker said he didn’t believe the increased compensation would affect the city’s budget, but that he wasn’t worried about the increased costs.

Thacker also said he wasn’t sure about running for re-election as mayor. Smaller cities like Goshen don’t have to file paperwork for election until August, even with the general election occurring in November.

“I’m still undecided,” he said. “And I don’t know that any commissioners have made a public declaration either.”

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