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Incoming City Council members get dough for staff

Incoming City Council president Darrell Clarke is making a list and he's checking it twice.

Office assignments? Check.

Budgets for incoming members? Check.

Earlier this month the six incoming members received notice that they would receive $375,000 toward Council staff and other amenities -$25,000 more than new members received in 2008. The additional money will not cost tax payers a dime since its cash freed-up from retiring members who were paid more and had fatter budgets, Clarke said.

Retiring members, excluding retiring Council president Anna Verna had budgets that varied between roughly $300,000 and $500,000. Verna who has the largest staff in Council including six district office and 44 president office employees –had a budget of about $3 million, not including her salary.

While it can be expected that some members will lobby for more dough in their budgets, Council's chief accounting officer Anne Kelly King told the Daily News in August that Council represents a small portion of the city's $3.5 billion general fund budget. And since the economic crash, Council reduced its spending, taking a $1 million cut last year.