ASHVILLE – An ordinance to reduce the salaries of the mayor and council will have to wait until the next meeting as the council took no action Monday night.
Currently, the mayor is paid $1,500 per month, while council members are paid $600 per month.
Mayor Derrick Mostella said the new ordinance would pay the mayor $1,000 per month and council members $300 per month.
Councilwoman Sue Price said she was shocked council salaries are going to be cut in half.
“It didn’t suit me very well, so I called around to some of the different municipalities,” Price said. “I didn’t run for this council to be rich. We were elected to serve the citizens of Ashville to the best of our ability. Our city has accomplished many tasks during the past three years to bring our municipality into the 21st century.”
Price said she agrees the $600 per month salary for council members is over what other municipalities in the county pay, but she’s still unhappy with the size of the proposed cut.
“In my opinion, it is an insult to the Ashville council members and the importance that we contribute to this community,” Price said. “The average council in this county makes $500 per month. Odenville and Springville are $550.
“We are not just council members at these work sessions and meetings. We are on the front lines of our city representing everyone from young to elderly. I agree that we may need to take a reduction, but not half of the salary.”
Price said her one complaint is the Ashville administration does not have good communications between all of the council and mayor. She said there is no reason for that.
“We need to be informed on critical decision plans well before the council meetings,” she said.
Mostella said this is not a financial decision and not a decision because the city needs money.
“I have wanted to do this since I was elected,” he said. “I wanted to make sure we had the money to do everything I felt like our citizens deserved and have done without. When I served as a council member, I quoted these same exact numbers. As mayor, it was one of my priorities.”
Mostella said he takes offense to the statement Price made about being informed.
“We inform our council on everything we do,” he said. “If we need to go into executive session, we do.
“There are certain (instances) where it does not benefit any of us to have discussions that don’t take place right here in front of everyone. That’s why we do not send out emails that talk directly about particular issues.
“When you start responding back and forth as a mayor and council in emails about particular issues that you have not voted on, then you are in direct violation of the Open Meetings Act at that point.
“We tread very lightly on how we give out particular information on particular things, especially if we know it is something that needs to be discussed out in the open.”
Mostella said this particular ordinance will not affect the salary of the current administration. This is for the next administration that will come in next year.
“I want us, as a mayor and council, to step out and lead by example,” he said. “I want us to sacrifice.
“Every time we ask a citizen to ride down a bumpy road, we are asking them to sacrifice. We ask them to hold on, be patient with us; we’re going to get to you.
“Every day, we ask our kids to go to the park and play on equipment that was there when I was a kid. We are asking them to be patient and asking them to sacrifice. I am asking this council to sacrifice, and I do not think that is too much to ask.”
The ordinance will be brought back up at the next council meeting, scheduled for Oct. 21, at 6 p.m.