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Left to right: City Council President Bernard "Jack" Young, Council Vice President Sharon Green Middleton and Mayor Catherine Pugh at the 72nd Baltimore City Council swearing-in ceremony at the War Memorial Building. All will receive raises on Jan. 1.
Left to right: City Council President Bernard "Jack" Young, Council Vice President Sharon Green Middleton and Mayor Catherine Pugh at the 72nd Baltimore City Council swearing-in ceremony at the War Memorial Building. All will receive raises on Jan. 1. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

On Jan. 1, the paychecks of Baltimore's top elected officials will get a little bigger.

The city's spending panel authorized raises Wednesday for Baltimore's new mayor, Catherine E. Pugh, plus City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young, Comptroller Joan M. Pratt and others.

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Pugh's salary will rise from nearly $172,000 to about $176,000. The salaries for Young and Pratt will rise from more than $113,000 to more than $116,000.

The City Council passed a law in 2007 that entitles elected officials to a 2.5 percent raise if any of the city's union employees receive a raise in the city budget. Workers for several city unions received 2 percent raises in this year's $2.6 billion spending plan, which was approved in June.

Pugh said Wednesday that the pay increases aren't raises, but cost-of-living adjustments to help ensure salaries keep pace with inflation. She said a commission that considers larger raises for elected officials hasn't met in years, and she argued that Baltimore officials are underpaid compared to those in some other cities.

"I think our salaries are low," Pugh said.

The salary for new City Council Vice President Sharon Middleton will increase from $73,000 to nearly $75,000. Other council members will see their salaries increase from $66,000 to nearly $68,000. City Council posts are considered part-time jobs.

There are also small raises for the members of the city's liquor board, who will make about $30,000 annually. The board typically meets about once a week.

The Board of Estimates also approved raises for city officials last year, after some city employees also got raises in the budget. Before that, the mayor received $167,000, the council president and comptroller received $110,000 each, and council members received $64,000 annually. The council vice president was paid $71,000 annually.

Pugh will make less than one of her top advisers. Her chief of staff, former schools CEO Tisha Edwards, is to receive an annual salary of $190,000. Edwards will officially join the administration next month.

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