Easthampton City Council OKs steps to $90K for mayor’s job

  • Easthampton Municipal Building JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 12/2/2020 9:00:04 PM

EASTHAMPTON — The City Council approved an incremental raise for the mayor Wednesday night, which will begin in 2022 and bring the position’s salary to $90,000 in 2025.

The approved schedule will increase the mayor’s salary to $82,000 in January 2022; $84,000 in January 2023; $87,000 in January 2024; and $90,000 in January 2025.

The mayor’s salary is currently $75,000 and was last increased in January 2016. The council previously discussed raising the mayor’s pay to $90,000 on Jan. 2, 2022, but after the proposal garnered mixed reactions, the council voted to send it back to the Finance Committee to discuss implementing the raise in increments over four years.

Those in favor of the original proposal said that bumping the mayor’s pay to $90,000 would help to attract more qualified candidates to run for the position, but opponents expressed concerns about approving the raise while many residents struggle with the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The schedule of incremental raises proposed by the Finance Committee appeared did not draw this same discussion at the Wednesday night meeting and received unanimous approval from the City Council.

Current Mayor Nicole LaChapelle will not benefit from these pay increases unless she is reelected next year and did not play a role in requesting the raise.

Councilor James “JP” Kwiecinski commended the increase as “reasonable, sensible, balanced and measured.”

A proposal to amend a zoning ordinance concerning cannabis cultivation, research and development in the highway business zoning district attracted more debate on Wednesday, and discussion continued into the night as those in attendance sounded off on the proposal. A decision was not reached prior to the Gazette’s deadline. 

The ordinance would allow marijuana cultivation and manufacturing in new buildings in this district. Currently, the district supports only retail marijuana businesses.

Jacquelyn Voghel can be reached at jvoghel@gazettenet.com.

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