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The Los Alamos County council wrapped up three nights of budget hearings by approving a $191,378,802 budget for FY2015 by a 5−2 vote Monday. Chair Geoff Rodgers and Councilor David Izraelevitz voted against the budget.
The vote came after a two-hour barrage of friendly amendments and substitute motions, as council tossed various options back and forth.
The debate centered on two points of contention. The first was whether a 15-percent pay increase for elected officials — effective Jan. 1, 2015, for newly appointed positions−should include councilors. The second was whether a re-implementation of $1.5 million in property taxes (removed in FY 2011) should occur in FY2016 or FY2017.
Councilor Steve Girrens made a friendly amendment to include councilors in the 15-percent salary increase approved by the state legislature this year, which was accepted.
The amendment was temporarily removed after Rodgers objected.
“I was going to vote for this budget right up to the point that council was included in the raises,” Rodgers said, citing a commitment he made while running for office not to vote for salary increases for council. “I said, you don’t do this job for the money. It’s public service. So for that one item, I’m going to have to vote against this budget.”
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