Should the La Crosse mayoral position receive a raise? It's the same question city council faced this summer and will now face again.
Mayor Tim Kabat vetoed a pay raise ordinance in August that would have boosted the pay of the mayor, starting in 2017, to $85,000 from $77,000.
Council member Martin Gaul supported the mayor's veto and is now calling for a more modest boost.
Gaul says this proposal is an effort to fairly compensate all city employees, including the mayor. He hopes to see about a 1 percent increase for all city employees in the next budget.
The proposal would do the same for the mayor, about a 1.2 percent increase every year for four years, divided evenly for a new salary of $79,500.
"The mayor is a city employee, and I think he's entitled to no more and no less than anyone else. That's why it's been put forward," explained Gaul, "And I think it's important that we keep pace with other city employees."
Gaul believes all city employees deserve even higher raises, but says this number reflects raises of people in the community.
"I'm certainly not going to make the case that 1.2 percent is adequate, because I don't. I don't think it's adequate for the mayor. I don't think it's adequate for city employees, nor our department heads, exempt or nonexempt employees. I don't think it's enough for the citizens, but it is the reality that we have to deal with. It's the reality in our budget, and I think our mayor's salary should reflect that," said Gaul.
Gaul believes a majority of council members will support the proposal, which it needs to pass. Gaul doesn't think the mayor will veto it, since it's a raise for the mayoral position in 2017, not necessarily Mayor Kabat himself. But if Kabat does veto the proposal, the council will need a 2/3 majority to override his vote.