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COUNCIL KEEPS LID ON PAY FOR 2 MORE YEARS

City of Tonawanda Common Council members Tuesday voted to keep their salaries and the mayor's the same for two more years.

Council members voted for their annual salaries to remain at $7,000 and for the mayor's to stay at $32,000. The Council must adopt the salary schedule by May, and it takes effect Jan. 1.

The salaries for Tonawanda's elected officials have remained flat for some time. The Council has not seen a salary increase since 1997, when the city's new charter was enacted.

The last increase for the mayor came in 2001, after the charter placed more of the decision-making power in the mayor's office. The Council decided that year that the full-time position deserved more money.

The city's cost-cutting measures were cited as the reason the Council kept salaries the same.

"We're not in the fiscal condition to raise the salaries," Councilman James Kossow said. "I personally feel we do this for the benefit of the community."

The City Charter calls for the Council to authorize its members' salaries every two years and the salaries of the mayor and the Council president, alternately, every four years. By mandate, the process must be done during election years, which Kossow prefers.

"This way you have to raise the salaries when the people are up for election," he said.

The Council also authorized the final expenditures for the repair of several cemeteries.

The rehabilitation of Salem, St. Francis and City of Tonawanda cemeteries has been financed by a state grant of $250,000. The Council's latest action authorized a $54,594 contract with Gleason Nurseries for monument repair.

Mayor Jack Gallagher said remaining funds may be spent to purchase historical signs for the cemeteries.

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