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Missoula budget includes pay raises for mayor, council


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The Missoula City Council is expected to approve a 3.85-percent property tax increase at its Monday meeting.

The mayor announced the increase two weeks ago after announcing property valuations from the state came in lower than expected.

We found out Thursday the mayor and the city council are slated for raises in the fiscal year 2019 budget.

Council members currently earn $1,249.24 a month. The budget calls for a 3.25-percent increase to $1,289.83.

The same increase is proposed for Mayor John Engen. He currently makes $42.75 an hour, for $7,409.46 a month. If the budget is approved the mayor will earn $44.13 an hour, for $7,650.26 a month.

Earlier this week Council Member Jesse Ramos proposed over $2.3 million in cuts. His list includes $33,000 for a lobbyist, $320,000 for Missoula in Motion and $701,000 for employee insurance premium increases.

Other council members opposed him. One said the services the city offers, such as parks and splash decks, offer recreational opportunities to those on limited incomes.

Council Member Heidi West said, "I think a lot of the folks that are being directly served by these are folks that are in a large part being failed by the private sector and maybe by capitalism as a whole. And I think that local government has the opportunity to, on some level, equalize the playing field and serve all of our constituents. I think all of these programs are valuable."

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The council will hold a public hearing on the budget Monday at 7 p.m. in the council chambers.

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