By a one-vote margin, the Batavia City Council voted to raise its annual pay by $1,500, from $2,000 a year to $3,500.
The pay increase was approved by the council last year, but Councilman Pierluigi Cipollone (inset photo) offered a motion to amend the proposed budget for 2012-2013 to delete the increase in pay.
His motion failed on a 4-5 vote with Cipollone, Brooks Hawley, Kris Doeringer and Patti Pacino backing the no-raise motion.
"I have had people come to me, and say, 'you are going to give yourself a raise on top of all this. It’s not deserved,' " Cipollone said. "I didn't take this job for the money."
Doeringer said increasing council pay is moving service on the council into a career, not community service.
"I don’t want to make the council positions about money," Doeringer said. "We didn't take the seats to make money. We're not career politicians. We all do something on the outside. I don’t want to see the City of Batavia move to where people want to be on council because they think it’s a job."
Councilman John L. Canale (bottom photo) noted that he voted agaisnt the raise last year because he felt it was too soon after seating a new council to be making that kind of decision.
Since then, he said, the council has proven to the public it deserves the raise.
"I said I would have the full intention of voting myself a raise this year if as a team we could prove to the constituents that we can do the job," Canale said. "I think in the last year, especially with the freshman that were on the council, along with the experienced ones, I think we have well proven to the general public that we can work as a cohesive unit."
He said the proposed budget, with a 16-percent decrease in taxes, is proof of the bipartisan nature of the council.
Councilwoman Rose Mary Christian said that what she hears from constituents is that council members should be paid more.
"I don’t know who you talk to, but there are people I talk to who say we don’t get enough for the crap we have to go through," Christian said.