SPRINGFIELD - Springfield City Commissioners took another step Monday night to reduce the city's debt. However, most see it more as symbolic than having a major impact on the city's financial crisis.
Lead by example seemed to be the motto for Springfield Mayor Ralph Hammond.
"It's good for leaders to step up and say, 'Hey, we are going to give if we are going to ask the citizens to give a little more,'" Hammond said.
The commissioner approved a significant pay cuts for themselves. Mayor Hammond's salary will go from $1,000 a month to $600, a 40 percent cut.
Commissioners took an even deeper cut, from $800 a month down to $300, a 62 percent decrease.
"It shows the citizens that we are willing to dig in our pockets along with asking them to," the mayor said.
However, salary is only part of the cuts.
"We will be doing away with all future benefits for elected officials. Officials, in my view, should never receive benefits," said Hammond.
The proposal passed 4 to 1, with commissioner Carl Curti voting against the cuts.
Residents erupted in applause, saying commissioners put the community's needs ahead of their own.
The commission also hired a grant writing consultant to help the city find more money.
They'll pay Kay Stripling $1,300 a month.
"Every time you walk on the sidewalk, drive on a road, drive over a bridge that's the result of grant dollars and these are dollars that Springfield, they have not had these dollars. so this is something they deserve," said Kay Stripling, Springfield Grant Writer.
Stripling received a one year contract.
She plans to present commissioners with a report and some grant applications in two weeks.
Stripling said she's concentrating on law enforcement, transportation and beautification grants.