Friday, September 8, 2017

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Late night debate highlights pitch for Newburgh council member pay raises

NEWBURGH – It was close to 11 p.m. Thursday when Councilman Torrance Harvey’s proposal to raise Newburgh City Council members’ pay by 33 percent came up.  He noted the local lawmakers have not had a pay hike since 1992 and he suggested they increase their annual pay from $9,000 to $12,000.

That brought a heated exchange from Councilwoman Genie Abrams who said council members serve as “volunteers” for the greater good of the city, a municipality that remains cash strapped.

“If you say we are paying too much taxes we should all take $1 salary – that’s my counter-proposal,” Abrams said. “There is $63,000 sitting right up here that we could give right back to our taxpayers.”

Abrams called it “obscene” for the council to give itself raises, especially at a time when the city’s bottom line remains relatively unsound.

Harvey said Congress and the state legislature vote themselves pay raises so it is perfectly acceptable for the city council to do the same.

Lawmakers agreed to address the issue going forward during 2018 budget preparation.

 


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