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Virginia mayor and City Council try to cut their pay, but law won’t let them

The Virginia, Minn., mayor and City Council wanted to cut their pay to help ease the city’s budget crunch, but state law says they can’t.
According to the Mesabi Daily News, the City Council voted a 10 percent pay cut — a savings of $2,600 a

The Virginia, Minn., mayor and City Council wanted to cut their pay to help ease the city’s budget crunch, but state law says they can’t.

According to the Mesabi Daily News, the City Council voted a 10 percent pay cut — a savings of $2,600 annually — from the salary of the mayor and six councilors. Virginia’s mayor receives $500 a month in salary; council members get $300.

But state statute 415.11, dealing with compensation for elected officials in cities, says: “No change in salary shall take effect until after the next succeeding municipal election.”

So the deal’s off.

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“We want to give back some money to help, but we can’t just do that,” Mayor Steve Peterson said. He doesn’t want to create unnecessary administrative work and costs in having money returned to the city after it has been paid to elected officials.

“Perhaps we can do something on the insurance deductible,” Peterson said. Virginia’s mayor and councilors receive the same insurance benefit as city workers.

No word, though, on whether they could voluntarily give back some or all of their pay, à la the Hennepin County Commissioners, who each agreed to forgo their raises this year.