Snowmass to increase council, mayoral pay after election
Snowmass elected officials are giving their successors and potentially themselves a raise.
At a work session May 14, council unanimously directed town staff to prepare an ordinance formalizing the increase in compensation, which would not go into effect until after the November election.
“I didn’t know we got paid,” Town Councilman Tom Goode joked at the work session.
To date, the four Snowmass Town Council members are compensated $12,000 annually, while the mayor receives $20,400 each year, according to town spokesman Travis Elliot.
As proposed, the pay increase would offer all five elected officials an additional $2,400 per year plus a $500 monthly cash stipend to be used toward insurance.
Altogether, the compensation increase would cost the town an additional $39,600 annually. The last time Snowmass elected officials had a pay increase was 2006.
The goal in boosting the pay is to “make the compensation favorable to attract a larger audience of constituents running for an elected position,” according to a May 14 memorandum from Town Clerk Rhonda Coxon.
During the 2016 election, three people ran for two Town Council seats and one person challenged the mayor. In 2014, three constituents ran for the two other council seats and three for the mayoral spot. In 2012, four residents vied for council positions while former Mayor Bill Boineau went unchallenged, according to Snowmass town records.
“By the time you read all these council packets and you divide the hours you put into it,” Snowmass Mayor Markey Butler said at May 14 work session, the pay equals “about 5 cents an hour.”
For that reason, Butler said she is “perfect” with the compensation increase as proposed.
“I think it’s a good move, (a) good move for all the time,” she said. “This wonderful kind of a volunteer job takes on everyone’s schedule. It’s tough.”
Added Councilman Bill Madsen: “I think it would be helpful (and) it would certainly encourage more people to participate, so I’m in favor of it.”
For Butler, Madsen and Councilman Bob Sirkus, all of whom are up for re-election in November, the earliest they would see a pay increase, if re-elected, would be at the start of their new term.
Goode and Councilwoman Alyssa Shenk, who are not up for re-election this fall, would not receive an increase in compensation until their next term, if re-elected.
That’s because current sitting council members “cannot give themselves a raise,” Elliot said. It can only be reflected at the start of their new term.
With the increase, Snowmass’ council and mayoral compensation would still equal less than that of their Aspen counterparts.
According to Aspen City Clerk Linda Manning, the mayor is compensated $2,325 per month plus a stipend equal to the cost of health insurance benefits for full-time city employees, while the council is compensated $1,700 per month plus the stipend.
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To level the playing field between those who pay sales and lodging taxes on nightly rentals and those who skirt them, the city is ready to take names and make them pay.