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City-County Council considering salary bumps for themselves

Posted at 11:52 PM, May 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-12 23:52:28-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A new proposal in Indianapolis city-county council could nearly triple the base salary for councilors.

"We get what we pay for," Dr. Greg Shufeldt, an associate professor of political science at UIndy said. "The idea of if we're willing to invest in government as a common good, that's when we would expect a return on our investment. If we don't invest in government, we shouldn't be surprised when it doesn't do what we want."

Right now, the salary is tied set at 12% of the mayor's $95,000 salary. That number was set in 2002, and councilors haven't gotten a raise since.

The base salary comes out to $11,400 for part-time work. The new proposal would bring salaries to $31,075 starting in 2024, with cost of living increases every year.

Shufeldt said that this means more people could afford to join the council. That could lead to a more diverse council that better understands the needs of the voters.

"It's also possibly going to lead to better governance," Shufeldt said. "With more pay, you're more likely to spend more time on this, not be distracted by other work."

The salary for councilors in Indianapolis is far below that of comparable cities. For example, Jacksonville, Florida has a similar population to Indianapolis and a city-county consolidated government. Their councilors are also part-time, but they make more than $52,000.

Marion County voters that WRTV spoke to are open to an increase, but they want to get what they're paying for.

"If the city is working, if government is working, if they can afford it, then councilors should be paid a fair salary," Marion County resident Connor Molin said.

"I would just be interested to know how much time and effort they're spending in the role before I could make a judgment about that. But I would say if they haven't had a raise in many years, maybe it's warranted," Marion County resident Hannah Meckes said.

The proposal is now in the Rules and Public Policy Committee and could be passed as early as next month. It would go into effect in 2024 when the next council takes office.