Englewood Mayor Blocks Pay Raises
Thursday, May 29, 2008
BY MAYA KREMEN
ENGLEWOOD - Mayor Michael Wildes is trying to block the city from raising salaries of some city workers and charging more for garbage and recreation services.
Calling it "unconscionable to pay more monies to management while increasing fees and taking services away from residents," Wildes vetoed two ordinances this week.
The new laws would increase pay for non-union employees, charge residents $200 a year for rear-yard garbage pickup and establish a $20-a-week fee for summer camp services. Both were previously free.
Council President Ken Rosenzweig countered that the city was trying to raise money to offset the tax burden. Englewood has struggled with a $1 million shortfall in state funding this year and has been under pressure to cut its budget.
"I estimate these ordinances would save $1 million a year," Rosenzweig said. "Mayor Wildes' veto will raise taxes on our citizens."
Wildes called the new city manager's salary, set at a $168,000 maximum, "an enriched package."
The manager will get a one-time $30,000 reimbursement for moving fees and a yearly allotment for car expenses.
Rosenzweig characterized the salary as "the going rate for city managers."
He said that residents with financial hardship could apply to have recreation fees reduced. Seniors and residents with handicaps will not have to pay garbage pickup fees under the ordinance.
The council will reexamine the ordinances at an upcoming meeting, Rosenzweig said. If a mayor issues a veto, the council must revote, with at least four voting in favor.
The council previously passed the salary ordinance 5-0 and the fees ordinance 4-1. Councilman Jack Drakeford was the lone negative vote, saying increased recreation fees would be hard on less-privileged residents.
Paid for by Friends of Michael J. Wildes For Mayor, Assemblyman Arnold Brown, Treasurer
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