A vote by Grand Island's City Council to raise the mayor and council's salary was approved at last night's meeting after failing just two weeks ago.
Grand Island Council President Peg Gilbert says she originally voted 'no' on the raises at the last meeting.
"Initially, I was opposed to any increases in salaries for the council and mayor, feeling that that should have been a discussion as part of the budget process," said Gilbert.
Gilbert says the finance director addressed the council, assuring them that money would not have to be taken from a contingency fund. Gilbert says it seemed like time was running out.
"Then there was the realization that if it wasn't enacted now, it couldn't be done for another two years," said Gilbert.
The last pay increase was in 2002. Former Mayor Margaret Hornady spoke in favor of the proposal at the meeting. She suggested setting up small, automatic raises over time so the council doesn't have to vote on their own income.
"You are voting for a raise for yourself and there's a difficulty with that, even though I agree with Mr. Nickerson that you shouldn't be ashamed to be paid for your work," said Hornady.
Although it's not set in stone, council member Robert Niemann says they added a timeline for reviewing salaries every two years.
"Just because you look at it doesn't mean it's going to go up, but it keeps it fair. It's almost like a point of principle that your time is worth so much," said Niemann.
The main motion supporting a council raise passed after being lowered from $9,000 to $7,200. The yearly salary for the council members will increase from $6,000 to $7,200. On December 4th, the new rate will go into affect when the new council is seated and sworn in.