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Clermont mayor, council members may get raises
Salary increase would be the 1st since 1995
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Clermont's mayor and council members may see their first raise since 1995.

Council members are amending the city charter to allow for the increase in salary, which would double the payments from $60 to $120 per month for council members and $75 to $150 per month for the mayor.

"We don't have any way of increasing the money we receive, so we looked into the possibility of doing that," said council member John Brady. "It's possible, but we had to go through the legal terms of changing the charter."

The increase applies to the base pay for the mayor and council members, which is higher in Hall County's other municipalities. Gainesville pays $500 per month to the mayor and $400 to city council members.

The topic came up as Clermont council members started to see the gas prices increase again.

"We've been getting a small amount that doesn't even really cover the gas money to do the city business," Brady said. "The mayor is really active, and he spends more money on gas than he takes in."

Council members will hold a public hearing at the city hall on Dean Street on April 5 before passing the change. The council held the first reading of the ordinance and unanimously approved it this month.

"Over the last few years, it's been mentioned a few times, but some of the council members decided they finally wanted to do something about it," said Mayor James Nix. "They thought the positions ought to be compensated more for the amount of time put in, and it might attract more people to run."

Three seats on the council are up for a vote this November.

"Albert Reeves, one of the council members who supported this, is probably moving out of town and not running again, so he doesn't really have anything to gain personally," Nix said. "It's just time. We tend to cover the expenses ourselves, and the current salary doesn't pay my gas bill much less the little things I do around town on a daily basis."

Council members are interested to hear from community members about the change that could take effect starting January 2012.

"Nobody in the community has said anything to me about it. It's been pretty quiet," Brady said. "We had some legal fees that we were dealing with, and we didn't want to push it then, but now it's time to move on with city business."