Commissioners increase water rates for residents, give themselve - WNEM TV 5

Commissioners increase water rates for residents, give themselves raise

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

A Mid-Michigan city decided to raise rates on utilities for residents and give commissioners and the mayor a pay hike.

At least one local leader is not applauding the decision.

"When you don't have the money or an over abundance of money, why would you do that? I just don't understand that," Bay City Commissioner Lynn Stamiris said.

Stamiris voted against the $1,000 pay raise for the city commissioners and the mayor. But the measure passed anyway.

"The motion was brought forward to approve the recommendation by the compensation committee, which consists of four residents. And they proposed a $1,000 increase," Stamiris said.

While it means more money for Stamiris, he said the money could be better spent somewhere else.

"I voted no because I truly do not do it for the money. I know there's some partially there for the money," Stamiris said.

Mayor Kathy Newsham said there is another side to the story. She said the increase has been a long time coming.

In 2009 the book took a drastic cut in salary.

"I know back in 2009 I was on the commission and the city commission, as well as every other employee in Bay City because of the recession, took a 10 percent or more rate decrease," Newsham said.

It was during this same meeting where the board voted to increase water and sewage rates.

Newsham said that comes from an entirely different fund than salaries, which are out of the general fund. She believes she, as well as the rest of her board, should be fairly compensated.

"I love what I do. That's why I ran for mayor. So as far as do I feel comfortable? Yes I do. I know people are upset in our community and there were some tough headlines last night and earlier today. But that's part of what you do when you're an elected official. You know, you're not gonna keep everyone in the community happy," Newsham said.

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