Basalt mayor, council members will get hefty pay hike
ELECTED OFFICIALS’ ANNUAL PAY
The future mayor and council members in Basalt are set for hefty pay raises.
The council voted 7-0 Tuesday night to raise the pay after the April 5 election for the mayor from $14,400 to $18,750 annually. That’s an increase of 30 percent.
The pay for three of the council seats will increase from $9,600 to $12,500 this year, also a 30 percent raise. The pay for the remaining three council seats won’t rise until after the April 2018 election.
Members of the board cannot vote for pay raises for themselves but they can vote to adjust the pay for future terms. The mayor’s position and three council seats are up for election April 5. The seats held by Mark Kittle, Gary Tennenbaum and Bernie Grauer aren’t up for election for another two years, so their pay will remain frozen.
“It’s about the position, not the people,” said Town Manager Mike Scanlon.
Grauer said the pay increases for future terms are a good way to encourage civic engagement. None of the positions are full time but require substantial hours preparing for and attending meetings.
The raises must be approved in a second reading to go into effect.
Scanlon stressed that he proposed the increases because pay for the council and mayor hadn’t been adjusted in Basalt since 2008. It’s an issue of “fairness,” he said.
“It’s been eight years since we’ve considered an adjustment in pay for our mayor and town council members — it’s time that we do it,” Scanlon said.
The town has surveyed salaries for employees over the past few years. It included a look at council and mayor pay as part of that process and found Basalt’s elected officials were the lowest paid among the towns of the Roaring Fork Valley (see factbox on A1).
The four incumbents who are seeking election in Basalt next month approved the pay hike. Incumbent Mayor Jacque Whitsitt and Councilman Rick Stevens are squaring off in the mayoral battle. Incumbent Councilmen Herschel Ross and Rob Leavitt are seeking re-election. Anyone who wins will get the higher pay.
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