The proposed ordinance to cut the pay of Chester City's mayor and council is on life support after failing to attract enough votes at its first reading to move forward.

The council vote Wednesday night split 2-2 along party lines. Republican Mayor Wendell Butler was absent and unable to cast the tie-breaker.

Democrats, who believe they are poised to take control of council in 2012, saw the move to cut salaries as political. Republicans said it was to address escalating labor and benefits costs in tough economic times. Republican Councilman Shepard Garner, who introduced the bill, said it was possible he would reintroduce it later this month.

- Mari A. Schaefer