Huntsville City Council approves pay raise, design for new city hall

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The mayor previously said 'No', but on Thursday evening, the Huntsville City Council voted 4-1 to pass a pay raise for themselves and for the mayor.

They also approved a plan that would build a new city hall within the next three years.

"Being up here is a privilege," Huntsville City Councilman Bill Kling said.

"We're elected to be servants. We're not full-time employees, we're 24/7 servants of the city," Huntsville City Council member Jennie Robinson said.

Far from a dead issue, on Thursday evening, the Huntsville City Council brought the matter of a 15 percent pay raise back to the floor.

"The mayor is currently earning less than 17 employees in his administration," Huntsville City Council member Will Culver said.

"The median income in Huntsville is $61,000," one neighbor said. "I have concerns about the pay increase to council members making over half that amount."

Mayor Battle previously vetoed the matter, which would increase his salary to just over $150,000 a year and a $5,000 raise for the council.

With a four to one, let the record show the nay came from council member Robinson.

Mayor Battle didn't comment on the matter, but the council also voted to build him and every other city leader a new office.

"It's very important to us to have a building that's energy-efficient and certainly maintainable and sustainable," Huntsville General Services Director Ricky Wilkinson said. "Sustainability is very important as well."

City leaders approved a design plan to build a new city hall where the current parking garage sits across the street.

"We want this building to be there 70, 80, 90 years. So, it's the quality of construction meets the needs of today but future growth and future needs," Huntsville City Administrator John Hamilton said.

The design plan is $3 million, the total price tag of the six-story building will be around $60 million. Hamilton said he expects it to be finished in 2022.

As to the council raise subject, council members Kling and Culver said they plan to give their raises to church and to charity.