AMITE — The Amite Town Council will take a second stab at increasing its pay after town attorneys said the council’s previous attempt ran afoul of state law.
Councilman Arthur Leonard Jr. introduced a pair of ordinances Monday that would change the method for calculating town officials’ pay and increase the amount council members make.
Under current city ordinances, council members receive $400 for each month’s regular meeting, regardless of attendance, and another $200 per month if they attend a special meeting, which is typically also held monthly. The mayor’s pay is calculated the same way, but he receives $800 and $400, respectively, for those meetings.
Under Leonard’s proposal, one ordinance would change the council members’ pay to $700 per month, regardless of meeting attendance. The second ordinance would keep the mayor’s pay at $1,200 per month, but would no longer tie it to meeting attendance.
“(Officials) should be professional enough to attend the meetings, and if not, people should vote you out,” Leonard said after the meeting Monday.
The ordinances, which are set for public hearing at 7 p.m. July 7, mark Leonard’s second attempt to change council pay. In April, he proposed shifting the pay rate from a per-meeting basis to a monthly salary that would not be contingent on attendance.
Meeting minutes indicate Leonard suggested the amount of pay was “to be determined,” but the language of the proposed ordinance that was advertised for public hearing did not mention an amount at all.
When the measure came up for adoption June 2, the council strayed from discussing a change in the method of calculating their pay and instead voted for an increase in pay.
Mayor Buddy Bel and town attorneys said that move violated state law because the public was not given adequate notice that the council might change its amount of compensation.
Bel had said he would not write checks for the higher pay rate until it was adopted legally.
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