Wagga councillors decided to freeze their pay packets despite being eligible for a salary boost.
It had been determined by an independent tribunal that the elected councillors for Wagga were entitled to a pay packet of up to $24,320, which is an increase of $4040.
Meanwhile, the mayor is eligible for a salary of up to $60,080, which is almost $16,000 more than before.
However, the city's councillors made the decision at Monday night's meeting to freeze their pay packet for the next 12 months, resulting in a saving of $52,190.
Deputy Mayor Dallas Tout said that they were "entering an unprecedented fifth term", and his fellow councillors should keep to the status quo in their final 12 months, leaving the increase for next year.
He said this would not affect the councillors at next year's elections, which ensures that the city will still be able to attract quality candidates to the table.
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Although, not all councillors were completely convinced of this pay freeze. Councillor Vanessa Keenan said that they had been fighting for a better remuneration for the city's elected officials, who are expected to put in a significant amount of work.
She had concerns that not accepting this increase will send "a watered down message" to the Office of Local Government about whether the council valued the contribution, which was determined by an independent tribunal.
"I know, and acknowledge, that we didn't come in to make money, but to make a difference for the community - but we didn't come in to lose money either," she said.
"For those who participate regularly and fully as a councillor, the remuneration is a token of the efforts made."
Councillor Rod Kendall said that elected representatives are "the worst paid people" in the organisation, which reduces the candidate pool at elections.
Cr Kendall said the young people he has spoken with, particularly from ethnic backgrounds, could not consider standing for council because their focus was on building a career and supporting their family. He said anything that paid less than a job was not an option they could consider.
However, Councillor Paul Funnell, who failed to get an organisation-wide pay freeze, said this was "a small sacrifice" that councillors could make during an unprecedented time.
When businesses are closing left, right and centre, Cr Funnell said this was the "moral and responsible option" that councillors should support.
Councillor Tim Koschel said it was "fantastic" to see the city of Wagga reclassified and now eligible for a higher packet, but this year was not the time to support a salary increase. Instead, he said that money should be directed towards helping the city move through this crisis.
Cr Koschel said the pay rise that the next term of councillors will be eligible for was a positive step forward and will attract "new blood" to the council table.
While the amended motion to freeze the councillors' salary was unanimously supported, it was not without resistance. Crs Greg Conkey, Keenan and Kendall had voted against the amendment in favour of the original motion, which recommended councillors support an increase by the maximum allowable level.
Once the amendment was passed by a majority vote comprised of Crs Koschel, Funnell, Tout, Kerry Pascoe and Yvonne Braid, the new motion was supported by all councillors.
Cr Dan Hayes was absent.