The average city councilor’s salary is more difficult to calculate, because in many communities the council salary appears in a single budget line item and doesn’t specify whether all the councilors are paid the same or if the council president earns more, Ferguson said.
If you take 15 communities where this is the case and find their average salary, and then average those with the remaining 29 communities whose city council salary data is available, then the average salary statewide comes out to $13,777, which is significantly higher than Amesbury city councilors’ $3,000 annual salaries.
In fact, Amesbury is tied with Easthampton as having the third lowest paid city councilors in the state. The only communities whose city councilors are paid less is Greenfield, which had a population of 17,456 as of the 2010 census and pays its councilors $2,692 on average, and North Adams, which is the least populous city in the state at 13,708 and pays its councilors $1,520 on average.
McClure rebutted by pointing out that there are sizable differences in populations, home values and total budgets between Amesbury and many of the other cities around Essex County and the state, but ultimately the majority of the councilors seemed to agree with Ferguson’s case.