Cortland legislature approves salary increases, mileage reimbursement policy

CORTLAND, N.Y. – The annual salary for a Cortland County legislator will increase to $10,000 in 2016, marking the first increase in legislature compensation in 25 years.

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The legislature voted Thursday to increase the salary to $10,000 annually for the county’s 17 legislators–up from $6,000 annually–which hadn’t been changed since 1991.

Donnell Boyden, who chairs the legislature, was the lone vote against the measure. He said legislators deserve a raise but felt the increase was too generous.

“I just can’t go with this big of an increase,” Boyden said. “It’s almost 67 percent, and I’ve had my concerns over that. My constituents are not for this.”

Any future salary increases for legislators will match the increase for employees who are covered under the county’s Management Compensation Plan.

The legislature also voted Thursday to establish a mileage reimbursement policy for lawmakers.

Legislators assigned to specific legislative committees will be entitled to mileage reimbursement, which will be capped at $1,200 annually.

The initial proposal capped reimbursements at $100 per month. Legislator Joseph Steinhoff amended the resolution Thursday to replace the monthly cap with an annual one, citing fluctuations in travel distances from month to month.

There will be no reimbursement for attending local town board meetings.

Legislators who represent communities on the outskirts of the county previously fought for that reimbursement, saying attending town board meetings requires traveling longer distances and makes them better equipped to do the job.

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