Democrats to seek major hike in City-County Council pay

Democrats on the Indianapolis City-County Council are planning to introduce a proposal next week that would nearly triple council salaries—the first pay hike for members since 2002.

The proposal would increase council pay from $11,400 per year to more than $30,000 per year. Council spokeswoman Angela Plank said she did not know the exact dollar figure of the raise but that it was in the “low 30s.” The actual proposal has not yet been released to IBJ.

“We’ve had councilors flat for 16 years,” Plank said. 

The wage increase would not take effect until the new council is seated in 2020. The Marion County municipal elections are next year.

“The current slate of councilors would never see any of the proposed increases,” Plank said.

Talk of a council pay raise immediately provoked Marion County Republicans to respond on Twitter, with a tweet blaming council president Vop Osili and Democratic leadership for “[waiting] until after Election Day to try and take more of your hard-earned money.”

“Tell @IndyMayorJoe that this is unacceptable,” the tweet read.

The council pay issue has been politically fraught for years. 

Council members voted in 2015 after the municipal election to give themselves a 44 percent raise, but the proposal was vetoed by outgoing Republican Mayor Greg Ballard. In early 2016, the council failed to overturn Ballard’s veto.

And later, in 2016 council Democrats tried again, only to eventually kill a proposal to double their pay without a discussion.

It is unclear whether the proposal will have enough sponsors to get through the council approval process this time around.

Indianapolis City-County Council members make well below some of their peers in Indiana.

For instance, in Carmel, annual council pay is more than $22,000, IBJ reported in 2016. The city's population is less than 90,000, while Indianapolis counts about 850,000 residents.

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