Hampden town councilors to consider giving up stipends

Posted May 03, 2014, at 6:25 a.m.

HAMPDEN, Maine — Facing another difficult budget year, members of the Hampden Town Council are considering giving up the stipends they receive for attending meetings.

An ordinance amendment that would do away with council salaries is the subject of a public hearing during the council’s meeting at 7 p.m. Monday.

As it stands, council members receive $30 for each regular and special meeting they attend, with the exception of the mayor, who receives $35.

Councilor Ivan McPike suggested the measure during a recent special council meeting, Mayor Carol Duprey noted during the council’s April 22 meeting. She asked McPike to introduce the topic.

“We were looking at ways to save money and a lot of us were in favor or did not realize when we took this position that actually we were being paid for that,” McPike said. “So I made the motion, and Council [Thomas] Brann seconded it, that we do away with the $30 stipends that we get per meeting” as well as the $50 quarterly stipend councilors are given toward internet access, he said.

If approved, the measure would take effect when the new fiscal year kicks in on July 1, he noted.

Resident Terry McAvoy, the only resident to comment on the proposal, applauded the plan.

“I think it’s an excellent idea that the councilors not receive any stipends,” he said. “I think it’s a nice gesture, for lack of a better term, when in the future I foresee asking departments to cut payroll, cut this and cut that. I just think it sets a good example.

“Some would say that $30 isn’t much, it’s only $30. But the only $30 adds up to $14,000, $15,000 [a year], or something like that, so it’s not just only $30. I think its an excellent gesture,” he said.

In making his motion to sent the proposed ordinance amendment to public hearing, Brann said he did not want the public to take McAvoy’s comment to mean that any decision had been made about next fiscal year’s budget.

“We have not done that yet. Mr. McAvoy might feel that cuts are necessary and department reductions are necessary but that’s his personal opinion,” Brann said. “It’s not the opinion of the council at this time.”

Also on Monday, the council will award the bid for a sewer project on Route 1A and approved related sewer bond documents, consider hiring a company to codify the town charter and discuss zero-sort recycling, among other things.

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