Changes in Ohio's Public Employee Retirement System are prompting the personnel committee of Perrysburg City Council to examine council members' salaries.
Council members are paid $6,500 a year, or about $542 a month. The mayor earns $25,000 a year.
The state legislature in September made changes to the state's public employee retirement system's pension law, which will take effect Jan. 7, 2013, and adjust criteria for public employees in three transition periods based on when they are eligible for retirement through Jan. 1, 2018.
The issue was raised at the personnel committee meeting Tuesday in council chambers.
City law director Mathew Beredo told committee members that the changes regard how they accrue time credit in a year based on how much they are paid.
The minimum salary for 100 percent credit is being raised from $250 to $600 a month, phasing in at the end of 2013 and applicable through 2014. Beginning in 2015, the base salary is $600 plus the lesser of either the consumer price index or 3 percent, Mr. Beredo said.
By 2014, he said, the minimum salary would be about $7,200, above what Perrysburg council members currently are paid. Therefore, they would earn only a percentage of time toward their retirement.
Councilman J. Todd Grayson called the current salary "paltry" and being enrolled in PERS "a joke," but he said that he didn't like the idea of raising his own salary. He suggested the matter could be put before voters on the ballot.
"I think the citizens are getting their value out of everyone on this council," Mr. Grayson said.
Mayor Nelson Evans said placing council pay on the ballot would itself cost money. He also noted that any action to raise salaries would not be applicable to current council members unless they were reelected for another term.
The last time council adjusted salary for its members was in 2000, a raise that took effect in 2004.
Councilman Timothy McCarthy said it was fair to examine salaries now. "I don't feel uncomfortable taking a look at what it could be," he said.
Mayor Evans said an ordinance could be brought before council that included a cost-of-living increase built into salaries.
City administrator Bridgette Kabat offered a comparison of Perrysburg's salaries to what neighboring municipalities pay their council members and mayors.
The city closest in population to Perrysburg (20,623) is Oregon (20,291), which pays council members $9,000 a year, with the council president earning $10,000 and the mayor $23,000.
The highest annual salary for a council member at $10,243 was found in Sylvania, which has a slightly smaller population than Perrysburg. Ms. Kabat noted that Sylvania salaries are based on a sliding scale, according to its available budget.
Bowling Green had the largest population (30,028) but pays its council members $5,000 a year, less than Perrysburg. Ottawa Hills pays all council members and its mayor only $120 a year. Mr. Grayson called that amount "almost insulting," while Ms. Kabat said it could be seen as a mark of "a true public servant."
Councilman Marie Ermie said the personnel committee should study the matter further before making any recommendation to council, which meets next at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 6.
Ms. Kabat said she will be meeting with her counterparts in neighboring municipalities soon and would discuss salaries and the PERS changes as well.
The comparison of area municipalities' population and annual salaries as presented by Ms. Kabat is as follows:
Municipality (population): council salary; council president salary; mayor salary.
Sylvania (18,965): $10,243; $11,443; $29,487.
Oregon (20,291): $9,000; $10,000; $23,000.
Maumee (14,286): $7,107; $10,107; $27,951.
Perrysburg (20,623): $6,500; $7,000; $25,000.
Waterville (5,523): $5,735; $5,735; $7,742
Bowling Green (30,028): $5,000; $5,000; $30,000.
Rossford (6,293): $3,000; $3,300; $7,500.
Ottawa Hills (4,517): $120; $120; $120.
Contact Rebecca Conklin Kleiboemer at firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-356-8786.