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Pa. municipalities may raise salaries to entice candidates

December 15, 2003|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Finding candidates to run and the demands of attending numerous meetings are prompting members of the Waynesboro Borough Council to raise the salaries of those who serve on the board, two councilmen said last week.

Borough council salaries in the Franklin County, Pa., communities of Waynesboro, Greencastle, Mercersburg and Mont Alto vary from no pay in some municipalities to $75 a month in others.

The six members of the Waynesboro Borough Council earn $75 a month, Councilman Charles "Chip" McCammon said. Mayor Louis M. Barlup is paid $125 a month, according to Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger.

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The council is proposing doubling salaries beginning in January for three new council members coming on board to $150 a month and raising the mayor's annual salary from $1,500 to $2,500, McCammon said.

If approved, the increase in the mayor's salary would not take effect until Jan. 1, 2006, after Barlup's current term expires, according to Melinda Knott, the borough secretary.

Sitting council members cannot raise their own salaries, said McCammon, who represents Ward 1. That means that his salary will remain at $75 a month for the remaining two years of his four-year term as will those of incumbents Ardie Winters in Ward 2 and John Cook in Ward 3.

Councilmen Clint Barkdoll, who represents Ward 1, Allen Porter, Ward 3, and Council President Douglas Tengler, Ward 2, did not run for re-election this year. They will be replaced by Richard L. "Dick" George, Ward 1; Dennis (Johnathan) Cain, Ward 2; and A.J. Benchoff, Ward 3. If the raises are approved, their salaries will go up to $150 a month.

"We're having trouble getting people to run for the council," McCammon said. "We thought raising the salary might be an incentive."

Porter said he will support the raises when they come up for a vote.

"Every council member serves on two committees and they meet at least once a month," Porter said. "There are always extra committee meetings plus the regular two council meetings every month. Last week I was at two extra meetings. It's asking an awful lot of someone."

North of Waynesboro, in Mont Alto, the seven borough council members are not paid for the work they do for their community, said Patty Kocek, borough secretary.

Tom Lowson, long-time councilman in Mont Alto, said while the borough has never paid its council members, that policy will be looked at next year.

Difficulty in getting people to run for the council is a problem there too, he said. "It's definitely going to be a topic for discussion next year," he said.

Under the Pennsylvania Borough Code, council members in boroughs like Mont Alto with populations under 5,000 people can be paid a maximum of $1,875 a year, according to Hamberger. In Waynesboro, which has a population under 10,000, council members can be paid up to $2,500 a year.

Nine of Chambersburg's 10 council members are paid $4,125 a year, the most they can receive under the borough code, according to figures supplied by Borough Manager Eric Oyer. Council President William F. McLaughlin and Mayor Tom Newcomer each get $5,625 a year, but could be compensated up to $9,000 a year, according to the borough code limits for boroughs with populations between 15,000 and 25,000.

Members of the Borough Council in Mercersburg, Pa., do not get paid for their service. Neither does the mayor, said Steven Mellott, acting borough secretary.

The council is adopting a new budget that calls for no tax hikes next year, Mellott said.

Greencastle, like Waynesboro, pays its council members $75 a month. Council President Barbara Bock earns $100 a month to run the meetings and Mayor Robert "Red" Pensinger earns $1,500 a year, said Borough Manager Kenneth Myers.

Public service is more lucrative in township government.

The five supervisors running Washington Township earn $50 per meeting, Township Administrator Mike Christopher said. Antrim Township Supervisors are paid $3,250 a year, Township Administrator Ben Thomas said.

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