Bedford council passes on increasing its stipend
The council discussed the issue at its mini-retreat in September, but revisited the matter briefly during its Nov. 13 meeting. A motion to form a committee to craft the wording for the ballot was presented, but was quickly shot down by a 7-0 vote.
Kelleigh Domaingue also had reservations because of a committee’s review of the Town Charter, and the other councilors agreed.
For their service to the town, each councilor is paid a stipend of $1,500 a year, and the chairman receives $2,000, according to the Town Charter.
“The purchasing power in 1984 to be equalized today would have to be in the amount of $3,381,” he said.
In addition to attending council meetings on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month, councilors are appointed to serve on the town’s boards and commissions.
Bandazian, who has been serving on the council since 2008, is a liaison to the Energy Commission, BCTV Board and the school board. He also is a council alternate on the Planning Board and the Merrimack Regional Water District.
Normand Longval, a councilor since 2006, serves as liaison to the Parks and Recreation Committee and council alternate on the BCTV Board and the Historic District Commission.
Domaingue, who was elected in March, serves as the council alternate on the Zoning Board of Adjustment, Highway Safety Committee and the Water and Sewer Advisory Committee.
Under the charter, councilors only receive reimbursement for mileage and expenses for out-of-town business, which is rare. The town pays for councilors and board members to attend seminars and conferences within their areas of responsibility.
In contrast, some surrounding towns, such as Goffstown and New Boston, pay their board of selectmen a stipend more or slightly equal to Bedford.
Each Goffstown selectmen receives a stipend of $395.33 per month, which is about $4,743 per year. No extra stipend is given to the chairman. Sue Desruisseaux, town administrator, said selectmen’s pay is reviewed annually during the town’s budget process. Beginning in July 2014, the proposed stipend will increase to $403.24 a month. Goffstown selectmen meet every Monday during the year.
New Boston selectmen meet every other Monday. Peter Flynn, New Boston town administrator, said each selectman receives an annual stipend of $2,200, and the chairman is paid $2,500. However, he said, the town has not granted any increases since 2009. The board is paid for attending conferences.
Bedford voters have the right to submit an initiative petition to increase the Town Council’s pay. A petition must be signed by at least 50 registered voters and submitted to the council. The town clerk must verify the signatures, and the council has the right to accept or reject the petition, but has to hold a public hearing on the issue.
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