A special committee appointed by the mayor is scheduled to consider Tuesday whether to recommend that aldermen should give a raise to members of the new City Council elected next year.

Under state law the current City Council has to set the pay rate for elected officials to be chosen next April at least six months before election day.

The four-member committee, at its first meeting on Feb. 23, asked city staff to prepare an analysis of what elected officials are paid in communities similar to Evanston. The committee said the review should consider “population size, style and size of government and socioeconomic parameters.”

To provide a simpler comparison, Evanston Now has looked at the two towns in Illinois closest to Evanston in population, and found that aldermen here come out far ahead on pay and benefits.

The average total compensation cost for the nine Evanston alderman is $24,648. The aldermen each make a base pay of $12,784. But they are offered health insurance and other benefits on top of that.

Those costs add between a bit under $1,000 and nearly $22,000 to the cost to taxpayers of an alderman, depending mainly on whether the alderman opts into the city health insurance program and whether the health plan covers just the alderman or the alderman’s family as well.

In Arlington Heights, which has a few hundred more residents than Evanston, the eight village trustees cost far less — on average $3,511 each in pay and fringe benefits.

Schaumburg, which has several hundred fewer residents than Evanston, gets by with just six trustees — but their total compensation averages $13,310 each.

Evanston’s mayor, whose pay scale will also be up for adjustment, costs taxpayers $20,525 a year. That’s less than half the $48,021 the village president makes in Schaumburg but more than twice the $9,211 cost of the village president in Arlington Heights.

The members of the Compensation Committee are Alvin Telser, an emeritus biology professor at Northwestern University; Sue Calder, director of Interfaith Action of Evanston and chair of the city’s Housing & Homelessness Commission; Todd Kihm, a building contractor who was among the people who sought appointment as 7th Ward alderman earlier this year, and Robin Simmons, who runs the entrepreneurship training program for Sunshine Enterprises in Evanston, which has received a grant from the city.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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