City council to vote on benefits, salaries

By Nina Gougis

Members of the DeKalb City Council proposed Monday to keep their existing salaries and start paying for health insurance coverage.

Each of DeKalb’s seven aldermen makes $6,000 a year, which is 20 percent less than what they made five years ago. The mayor makes $25,000 a year. Both are part-time positions.

Their salaries were relatively high compared to those in similar cities, said Donna Johnson, city clerk.

First Ward Alderman Karega Harris said their salaries should not be raised because they already make more money than other officials in similar cities.

In addition to keeping the present salary, the council may decide to pay two and four percent of their salaries for single and family health insurance coverage starting next term.

Single coverage for aldermen and the mayor is currently free, and their family insurance rates are comparable to those of retirees, Johnson said.

Having the mayor and aldermen pay for insurance will be fairer to other city employees who currently pay two and four percent for single and family coverage, said 2nd Ward Alderman Kris Povlsen.

“When we ask our staff to contribute to their benefit packages, we should do the same,” Povlsen said.

Four years ago, health insurance benefits used to be free for all city employees. They began to pay one percent for single coverage, which then increased to two percent two years later.

Johnson said having the aldermen pay for health insurance will have little or no impact on the average taxpayer. She said the main concern of the aldermen is to be “fair and equitable” to their employees.

The council will vote on these changes at the next meeting, which will take place on Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. at the DeKalb Municipal Building located at 200 S. Fourth St.

If voted in, Johnson said the changes will take effect in future terms.