Council Update

City council gave their stamp of approval to a national fast food chain that will soon be coming to downtown.

At their latest meeting, council approved the plan to convert the current Citgo gas station at the corner of Washington and Hillside into a Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin Robbins.

The new 2,600 square foot restaurant proposal includes a drive-through, a right-in right out access on Washington Street and full access from Hillside.

“The developer and property owner is dedicating a strip of land along the river, as a Riverwalk easement,” said Councilman Fieseler. “I think we were smart when we took a pass at the McDonald’s proposal, which was much more dense.

That proposal, for a 24-hour McDonalds at the same location, was denied in 2012.

And after a sometimes heated debate, council compensation won’t be nearly doubling after all.

The group voted down Councilman Steve Chirico’s proposal for a $20,000 all-in annual salary for councilmembers.

After about an hour of discussion, the new ordinance failed 6-3.

This means the next council, elected in April of 2015, will make $12,500, with the option to purchase health care benefits by paying 20 percent of the premium.

The trimming of council compensation began late last year with the elimination of a cell phone and internet stipend and continued with the removal of pension participation in January.

Mayor Pradel also publicly spoke on the issue for the first time, saying he was uncomfortable removing benefits completely from council compensation.

“Federal employees are paid, state employees are paid, this includes the House of Representatives and the senators, and the leaders of the federal, state, and local government. They also get benefits,” said Pradel. “We need to treat our elected officials well and expect the very best from them. And if they don’t, vote them out and impeach them.”

In a separate action the council also voted down the all in proposal for mayoral compensation. Therefore the next mayor elected in 2015 will be paid just over $30,000, with the option to purchase health insurance.

Mayor Pradel has said this is his last term as mayor.

The group also had a first reading of an ordinance that could tighten up regulations on pawnshops and second-hand jewelry stores. They could vote on that as early as their next meeting.

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