City Council members, who have forgone salary raises for the past four years, this week unanimously voted to give themselves a 5% pay hike.
The council's action gave preliminary approval to an ordinance that will raise council members' monthly compensation from $463 to $486.
The pay increase would start Feb. 8, a month after the new ordinance's scheduled second and final vote.
City Manager Darrell Essex proposed the pay increase for council members during their Monday meeting.
"The council has not increased salary for itself going on four years," Essex said. "It's time to increase the salary and give yourself the pay that is allowable under state law."
City Atty. John E. Cavanaugh said state law allows City Council members to vote themselves a 5% salary increase once a year. He noted the law does not allow councils to make pay raises retroactive.
Councilwoman Mary Ann Jones, with a grin, noted that news reporters in the audience Monday were taking notes about the council's action.
She said she hoped reporters would make it clear that "this is only a $23-a-month increase, before taxes."