Minimum-wage hike, storm-water fee on Portland councilors' horizon

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PORTLAND — The order of business will be water before wages for the City Council finance committee this fall.

Councilor Nick Mavodones Jr., the committee chairman, on Monday said the panel of Councilors Jill Duson, Ed Suslovic and David Marshall will first consider a city plan to charge user fees based on a property’s impervious surface to fund future storm-water infrastructure improvements.

The proposed fee would assess $6 a month for each 1,200 square feet of pavement or other impervious surface on all properties in the city, including those that are publicly owned.

In November, the committee is expected to consider and take comment on a proposal to create a city-wide minimum wage beginning at $9.50 per hour.

Both proposals were discussed at a Sept. 25 Finance Committee meeting.

The wage plan, which could boost the citywide minimum wage to $10.68 per hour by Jan. 1 2017, and have it pegged to the cost of living thereafter, is the result of five meetings in a committee created by Mayor Michael Brennan.

“We told (Brennan) we would make sure it got a fair hearing,” Mavodones said. “Everyone is open minded.”

In a memo to the committee, Brennan said a city wage ordinance would continue to adhere to the state law allowing a “tip wage” of 50 percent below the minimum wage for people earning at least $30 a month in tips.

“However, the ordinance would be drafted to ensure that all tipped employees achieve the minimum wage as proposed,” Brennan said.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

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Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.