(Posted Aug. 17, 2023)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Mount Sterling village council is considering legislation that would eliminate medical benefits for the mayor’s position.
Council held the first reading on the proposal at their Aug. 14 meeting. They plan to hold two more readings at upcoming meetings before putting it to a vote. If passed, the measure would go into effect with the next mayoral term which is up for election this November.
The mayor is the only elected official in Mount Sterling who receives medical benefits. The position is considered part-time. The salary is $1,000 per month.
Council member Andy Drake, chair of the finance committee, said the projected cost of medical benefits for the mayor’s position is a total of $130,000 for the next term (2024-2027) and a total of $160,000 for the following term (2028-2031).
The finance committee’s recommendation to eliminate the mayor’s medical benefits stems from a promise made when the state released the village from fiscal oversight in October of last year.
“The village committed at that time to (continue to) trim expenses and bring expenses basically in line with other municipalities our size, and we have largely done that,” Drake said.
The village submitted a fiscal forecast for 2024 to the state that includes the proposed elimination of the mayor’s medical benefits.
“This is finishing up the last of the state requirements,” Drake said of the legislation.
Council member Becky Martin opposes the legislation. She said the medical benefits were implemented about 4.5 years ago. At that time, the mayor’s salary was $7,500 per year. The addition of medical benefits was designed to attract a broader array and larger number of candidates for the mayor’s position, Martin said.
She acknowledged the need for money for street repairs, drainage improvements, and other projects, but stated, “As we’ve all talked about before, our most valuable assets we have in a community are our employees and our administrators, our staff. We need to take care of them above everything else.”
Martin noted that the addition of medical benefits for the mayor was approved while the village was under state fiscal oversight.
Martin cast the only “no” vote on the legislation’s first reading.
A copy of the 2024 forecast is available in the town hall lobby for public viewing.
The next council meeting is at 7 p.m. Aug. 28 in council chambers at town hall. The next finance committee meeting is set for 2:30 p.m. Sept. 6.