Colfax raises village board pay

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX —  For the first time in a decade, or maybe more, the Colfax Village Board has voted to give themselves a raise in pay that amounts of an increase of about $500 per year.

Well, actually, village board members approved a pay increase at the February 25 meeting for those village board members who are elected in April.

In this case — unless there is a strong write-in candidate campaign in the last month before the election — the village board will remain the same with the exception of one new member.

Village board members currently receive $1,000 per year plus $10 per meeting.

The village president earns $1,200 per year along with $10 per meeting.

Village board members agreed that the time since the last pay raise could have been longer than ten years because none of them remembered getting a raise.

Under the existing rate of pay, village trustees earn about $20 an hour for the meetings they attend ($1,000, plus two monthly meetings for 24 meetings per year at $10 per meeting, figuring 2.5 hours for each meeting to account for longer meetings or committee meetings; this does not account for any preparation time, research time or fielding telephone calls).

Gary Stene, who is not running for re-election as village president, brought up the issue of a pay increase.

Stene suggested a raise of $500 per year for the trustees and $750 per year for the village president.

Richard Johnson, village trustee, noted that when he first started serving on the board, the trustees were paid $800 per year.

Johnson suggested an increase to $1,200 per year for trustees and $1,400 per year for the village president, plus $20 per meeting.

Johnson’s motion failed.

Another motion to pay trustees $1,250 per year and the village president $1,550 per year, plus $20 per meeting, was unanimously approved by the Colfax Village Board.

Under the new rate of pay, village trustees will be earning about $28 per hour ($1,250 per year; plus two monthly meetings for 24 meetings per year at $20 per meeting, figuring 2.5 hours for each meeting to account for longer meetings or committee meetings; this does not account for any preparation time, research time or fielding telephone calls).

Village trustees Chris Olson, Susan Olson, Beverly Schauer and Scott Gunnufson are up for election in April.

Chris Olson and Scott Gunnufson are both also running for village president.

Anne E. Schieber will be on the ballot for trustee in April as well.

The Colfax Village Board meets twice a month and also has a system of committees that meet at various times of the year.

Since Jackie Ponto, administrator-clerk-treasurer, began working for the village last summer, the village board’s committees do not meet as often.

Comparisons

Ponto contacted other municipalities to find out how Colfax’s village board pay compared to other cities and villages.

Spring Valley, with a population of 1,586, compared to Colfax at 1,160, pays village board members $1,000 per year, the president $1,500 per year, and pays $15 per committee meeting.

Glenwood City, at a population of 1,242, pays city council members $200 per month (or $2,400 per year), pays the mayor $400 per month (or $4,800 per year), and pays $25 for extra meetings.

The other 17 municipalities that responded to Ponto’s survey are not located in this area.

Cambridge, not far from Madison with a population of 1,459, pays $40 per meeting to the trustees and $309 per month to the village president along with $40 per meeting.

Black Creek, located north of Lake Winnebago with a population of 1,316, pays its trustees $2,600 per year, pays the village president $3,900, and provides no extra pay for meetings.

New Lisbon, between Tomah and Mauston with a population of 1,466, pays its city council members $1,850 per year, the mayor receives $2,400, with no extra pay for meetings.

Other business

In other business, the Colfax Village Board:

• Approved allowing the Colfax Municipal Building Restoration Group to paint the auditorium in the municipal building. CMBRG will pay for the paint and for hiring a painter. The village board approved the motion with the stipulation that CMBRG hire an authorized and insured painter to do the work.

• Continued the discussion on Colfax’s 150th anniversary next year with the idea of holding an informational meeting in April to find out who might be interested in helping with the planning.

• Approved a contract in the amount of $4,995 with General Code out of Rochester, New York, to update the village’s code of ordinances.

• Tabled the fee schedule and set a special meeting at 6 p.m. on the next village board meeting date, March 11, to discuss the fee scheduled.