Williamstown discusses pay raise

WILLIAMSTOWN – Williamstown City Council discussed the possibility of increasing the salary for the mayor’s position during the regular meeting Tuesday evening.

“I thought the pay was more than what it is and it is just terrible,” said longtime Councilman Marty Seufer.

The mayor of Williamstown is paid $5,000 annually. Seufer recommended doubling the salary to $10,000.

“We are lucky to have Jean, who doesn’t need the salary, but if we hope to get other, good candidates in the future, we should offer more pay,” Seufer said.

Ford agreed after she pointed out the mayor’s office paid $400 a year when she was first elected 17 years ago.

“When somebody else decides to run, the salary would make it a little more attractive,” Ford said.

City attorney C. Blaine Myers said if council agrees to the increase, it will not go into effect until the next mayoral term.

The position of mayor and two council seats are up for election in May.

In other business:

* Myers told council American Tower sent three different lease proposal options regarding placing a data tower on city property.

The lease offers the city $175,000 with the primary term ending in 2019 with options to renew in five-year terms.

The three options are regarding how the city receives the money: over five years, 10 years or 35 years.

“If we do any of these, I want to see an actual new lease agreement,” Myers told council. “The advantage is the up-front money, of course.”

Ford gave her opinion as the city’s mayor.

“I would opt for the five-year option,” she said.

Seufer agreed and said the main reason for this is because no one knows what will happen in technology in the next few years, let alone the next 35.

“Ten years is a long time for technology,” he said. “I hope, regardless of our decision, that we put the money in a separate fund, so we can do something specific with it.”

Myers agreed and advised council not to put the money in the city’s general fund.

Council’s general consensus is to take the five-year payout of $45,000 a year, contingent on obtaining the lease agreement and agreeing to it as well as some obligation on the part of the company to dismantle the tower in the event of abandonment.

* Councilwoman Barbara Lewis was contacted by a volunteer group that has offered to help anyone who needs assistance in cleaning their yard for the summer.

The volunteer will be available to work the last weekend of every month until all requests are met.

Those interested should call Lewis at 304-375-4935.

“That seems to be the name of our town – volunteers,” Ford said. “We are very blessed.”