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Some city council members refuse pay

By Staff | Mar 14, 2009

Unlike some on area city councils, there are local government leaders who are ‘walking the talk’ when it comes to making budget cuts.

Winnebago Councilman Bob Weerts and the entire Delavan City Council have decided to take a cut in pay.

At the end of Tuesday night’s meeting, Weerts made an unexpected announcement when it came his turn to give a report.

“I’m going to give all city money I make from the council back to have it put in the general fund,” says Weerts.

The councilman, who was elected to a two-year term in November, gave no reason for his decision.

Perhaps it was the comments Scott Robertson, president of the Winnebago Chamber of Commerce, made the week before.

During a public hearing to gain input on possible budget cuts, Robertson told the council he would offer his services for nothing because of the tough economic times.

Weerts will be giving up $1,700 in salary and an additional $350 for special meetings that are held.

None of the other councilmembers indicated whether they plan on following Weerts’ footsteps.

Last year, Winnebago councilmembers voted against giving themselves a pay raise.

On Monday, the Delavan council voted unanimously to stop receiving $25 for attending special council and committee meetings.

The idea was that of Butch Ottesen, who has served on the council a total of 10 years.

“It’s not big money, but I thought, ‘Here’s a way to save a few dollars,'” says Ottesen. “Being on the council is a community service. You shouldn’t expect to get paid for everything you do.”

Councilmembers earn a salary of $1,200.

Last year, the Blue Earth council voted to increase the mayor’s salary to $3,000 a year and $2,700 for each councilmember. The pay hikes were approved on June 30, to beat an election year deadline of July 1.