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— Members of the Pea Ridge City Council meet regularly once a month. At the end of the year, they receive a check for the meetings they’ve attended during the year at a cost of $100 for each meeting.

At the regular Council meeting in November, council member Bob Cottingham made a motion to increase the pay saying he had asked city treasurer Sandy Button to research what council members in area cities are paid.

“It was $25 for many years,” Cottingham said, adding that the amount was increased to $100 just a few years ago. “I’d entertain the idea of bringing ours up to speed per capita.”

“I’d entertain the possibility of moving our pay up to $200 for Council and $150 for Planning Commission,” Cottingham said.

Nadine Telgemeier, council member, suggested putting the question on the ballot.

“Even Garfield gets $110, it’s incentive to be here,” John Cody, council member, said.

“I don’t think any of us are here for the money aspect ... I’d just like for us to be competitive,” Cottingham said. Cottingham works nights and takes off work without pay to attend council meetings.

Cody seconded the motion, which was put up for a vote. Cottingham and Cody voted yes with Jack Kelly and Telgemeier casting no votes. The mayor did not cast a tie-breaking vote, preventing the motion from passing.

“I abstain. I’m uncomfortable going either way,” the mayor said.

“I’m uncomfortable giving myself a raise,” Kelly said. “That’s the only reason.”

Cottingham explained that the money was for the position, not for the people personally. “It’s to encourage people to put interestin the position.”

“I’d rather it be a total consensus,” Crabtree said.

Further discussion led to the proposal to broach the subject with a lower rate of increase at the next council meeting.

Council members also approved the annual merit bonus for city employees at the same rate as last year’s - $300 for full-time employees and $150 for part-time employees. There are 26 full-time employees and three part-time employees, according to city officials.

In Bentonville, population 28,621 (as of 2006), eight council members meet twice a month for $468.78 per month. The agenda is prepared and released on Friday before Tuesday meetings and posted on the city’s Web site. Packets of items to be discussed are delivered by courier to council members prior to the meeting.

In Bethel Heights, population 1,812, there are six council members. Meetings are once a month and council members are paid $125 for meetings attended. Planning Commission members are paid $100. Packets are delivered to council members prior to Council.

In Centerton, population 5,621, six council members meets monthly and are paid $50 a meeting.

Planning Commission members are paid $50 as well. The Council agenda closes at noon on Friday and packets are e-mailed to council members and the media.

In Gravette, population 1,800, there are six council members who meet twice a month with a committee of the whole and finance committee meeting one night and a regular meeting another night.

They are paid $50 per meeting.

The agenda is sent out on Monday and e-mailed or faxed to the media with the mayor approving last-minute items. Information is released to council members and the media in advance. Planning Commission members are paid $25 per monthly meeting.

In Pea Ridge, population 4,555 (according to Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning), there are four council members who are paid $100 per meeting attended with meetings scheduled once a month.

Planning Commission members are paid $75 per meeting attended.

In Rogers, population 48,667, eight council members meet twice a month and are paid a set fee of $700 per month. Planning Commission members are paid $300 per month. The agenda is completed by noon Wednesday, although city officials said last minute items are sometimes added. The agenda is published in the newspaper and e-mailed on Thursdays. Packets are either emailed or hand delivered, according to the council members’ preferences, by Thursday to council members and the media.

PEA RIDGE SCHOOL BOARD

The Pea Ridge School District Board of Directors will meet at 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14, in the High School Media Center.

Among new business items to discuss are student transfer requests,consideration of the 2007-2008 audit, consideration of the resolution for local support of 2010 Ten Year Facilities Master Plan and 2011-2013 partnership program and consideration of Disclosure, Resolution andArkansas Department of Education Approval under ACT 1599.

The board will also discuss an outof-state trip for junior high cheerleaders to the Capital One Bowl in Orlando, Fla.

News, Pages 1 on 12/09/2009

Print Headline: What’s a council member worth?

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