Wollongong councillors have voted to give themselves a 2.5 per cent pay rise next year, despite growing concerns about Wollongong City Council's finances.
Councillors voted 10-2 to increase the yearly payment to councillors from $25,580 to $26,220, and the lord mayoral salary from $74,530 to $76,360.
The rise is the maximum the council could approve, as set by the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal.
Greg Petty and George Takacs were the only councillors to speak against increasing councillors' pay, saying the city's finances needed to be a top priority.
Last month, general manager David Farmer flagged concerns about the financial sustainability of the council as it struggled to find the funds to maintain its roads, footpaths and public buildings.
Cr Takacs said that in this climate councillors needed to focus on improving the financial position of the council.
He proposed that their salaries stay the same until June next year.
Cr Petty said it was important for councillors to put their own interests behind those of the community.
"We need to send to the community a very strong message that we understand what is happening in the economy," he said.
He also noted that the $10,000 saving from not increasing councillors' pay could have been put towards providing council staff at neighbourhood forums - a community-engagement measure that that council had removed earlier this year.
Jill Merrin and Vicky Curran spoke in favour of the pay increase - with vocal support from other councillors - saying their councillors' wage was small given the amount of work did.
"The amount of time that I put into doing a councillor role is more than a full-time job, and that goes for everyone around this table," Cr Merrin said.
"It is a pittance. "