Exeter City Council stipend decrease leads to increase in chamber dollars
Exeter Council changes compensation ordinance, diverts $2,100 to Exeter Chamber of Commerce
EXETER – Despite difficult budget cuts the City of Exeter managed to squeeze out a $2,000 donation to the Exeter Chamber of Commerce for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. And now that the City is a month into the fiscal year, the council has decided to reduce their monthly stipend to keep in line with a city-passed ordinance from 1958.
Mayor Teresa Boyce brought up the idea of changing their compensation during the July 10 meeting, saying that it didn’t seem fair to have made a decision on council member stipends in an election year where three new members may be elected. City manager Adam Ennis said after looking into the ordinance, council members are supposed to get $10 per meeting they attend with a maximum of four meetings in a month.
In the recent past the Council has been afforded approximately $40 per month, with the option to decline the stipend all together, which most council members have done in leaner years.
As of last Tuesday the city council voted to follow the ordinance of $10 per meeting and instructed staff to assess the stipend on a quarterly basis. If a council member does not want to take the stipend they can choose to donate it to a nonprofit of their choice.
“I do like that it has the language in there for letting each councilmember decide instead of having some sort of blanket rule,” councilmember Jeremy Petty said.
Beginning July 1 the City had already budgeted $3,500 for councilmember stipends, but under the $10 per meeting ordinance the maximum the entire council could earn is $1,400. With $2,100 left over, the Council decided to donate it all to the Exeter Chamber of Commerce bringing the City’s donation to $4,100 with the option to add more if they choose to donate their quarterly stipend to the chamber as well.
“I’m very grateful the council chose to invest more towards the work of the chamber. The council members have all been very much in favor of supporting the chamber throughout this difficult budget process,” said the chamber’s executive director Sandy Blankenship.