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Oakwood City Council votes to increase pay, effective in 2010
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Oakwood City Council voted Monday evening to raise council members’ salaries, and the $250 per month increase will go into effect Jan. 1, 2010.

Before the council’s approval to increase council members’ pay, Oakwood City Council members received $350 each month for their service, which totals $4,200 annually.

Under the new ordinance, council members will receive $600 each month, which totals $7,200 annually.

In addition, the new ordinance provides for a meeting stipend of $50 each meeting, for up to 10 meetings a month "for attendance at meetings other than regular or called city council meetings," according to Oakwood Assistant City Manager Patti Doss Luna.

"The city staff did a survey of other cities and determined that Oakwood was probably in the bottom 25 percent of all the surrounding cities, and in light of the workload this City Council has, they should have had some higher level of pay," said Donnie Hunt, Oakwood city attorney. "As staff, we recommended they increase their salary. You want to give a little incentive for them to go to meetings."

At present, Flowery Branch City Council members, as well as Gainesville City Council members, receive $400 each month for their service.

Also, both Flowery Branch and Gainesville mayors receive $500 in compensation each month for their public service.

Although Flowery Branch City Council members receive no additional compensation for meetings they attend outside regular or called city council meetings, Gainesville City Council members do receive $125 for every meeting they attend that is "official business of the city," according to Gainesville City Manager Bryan Shuler.

Ten meetings each month is the cap on the number of meetings Gainesville City Council members receive compensation for in addition to regular city council meetings.

In August 2006, the Oakwood City Council raised the mayor’s salary from $450 each month to $900 each month, and on Jan. 1, 2007, that new salary went into effect for the mayor.

"The mayor was actually raised more, but the mayor has lots more responsibility than the average council member," Hunt said. "He goes to lots more meetings and he has lots more meetings (at city hall)."