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City Council pay raise is a relative bargain

Council member Stephen Murphy made his case. Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff

Sure, $20,000 is a big raise, especially if you award it to yourself.

But for members of Boston’s City Council, who have voted to give themselves that raise, it is still asking taxpayers to pay less per person for representation than they did five years ago.

That’s because when the salaries are adjusted for inflation and Boston’s growth, individual taxpayers will likely spend six cents less each even after the raise.

In 2010, the adjusted cost of representation per resident was $7.28. In January 2016, if councilmembers receive the proposed raise, the cost per resident will be $7.22.

On Wednesday, City Council members voted to increase their salary from $87,500 to $107,500 starting in January 2016, increasing the payroll to at least $4.7 million.


Five years ago, the City Council requested $4.1 million for the payroll, or about $6.67 per Boston resident annually.

It’s still not clear whether the raise will take effect as proposed. The council reduced the size of the increase under a veto threat from Mayor Martin J. Walsh.

City Council President Bill Linehan originally called for a raise that was $5,000 higher, arguing that there had not been a pay increase since 2006.

Councilors also debated whether to increase the salary to just $94,000 with annual adjustments in relation to Boston’s median income.

Fiscal Year 2010 Fiscal Year 2015
Total Request City Council Dept. Personnel $4,121,029 $4,408,395
After raise -- $4,665,272
City Council employees (including councilors) 99 116
Boston population 617,594 645,966
Budget per council seat $317,002.23 $358,867.08
Payroll per resident $6.67 $7.22
Payroll per resident (Today's dollars) $7.28 $7.22

Source: City of Boston

Walsh has not said whether he will sign the measure. He has 15 days to decide if he wants to reject it, but with a 9-4 vote, the council already has the two-thirds majority to override him.


Boston city councilors vote for $20,000-a-year raise

Walsh threatens to veto City Council pay raise

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Andrew Ba Tran can be reached at andrew.tran@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @abtran.