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Pay raise for St. Albans mayor passes first reading

By Kristin Ledford
ST. ALBANS, W.Va. -- The next mayor of St. Albans could be getting a raise.City Council passed the first reading of an ordinance that would raise the salary for the mayor beginning with the next term in July 2013.The ordinance calls for the salary to increase by at least $14,000, or 35 percent, each year.Currently, the mayor earns $40,000 annually, with $24,000 coming from the city budget and the remaining $16,000 coming from the Municipal Utility Commission.The new ordinance calls for the salary to increase to $54,000 annually, with $32,400 paid by the city and $21,600 paid by the MUC.The MUC pays a portion of the salary in exchange for the mayor to serve as chairperson.The new ordinance also allots for an additional $12,000 if the MUC contracts with the mayor to serve as the general manager, in addition to also serving as chairperson.
"The MUC is not obligated to do that," said city attorney Charles Riffee. "Because the next mayor may not be qualified, the next mayor may choose not to do that. [The ordinance] leaves that open."Current mayor Dick Callaway serves as general manager for the Municipal Utility Commission without additional compensation.Riffee added that the mayor's salary in St. Albans has not changed in 16 years.A public hearing will be held immediately before the next council meeting Dec.17 to discuss the proposed raise.Council also passed a resolution to amend the safety policy for the city.The amendment outlines clear standards for a variety of items that residents might need to know when they apply for permits.The standards include crowd management, building occupancies, fireworks, outdoor venues, and entrances and exits to events. 
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