Council considers pay raise

Salary increase for elected officials would be first in more than a decade

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— The elected officials of Steamboat Springs, four of whose seats are up for grabs this November, may be asking the voting public for a raise.

City Council President Kevin Bennett asked the other City Council members Tuesday if they would be interested in putting a council raise on the ballot in November, giving all seven City Council members a raise for the first time in more than a decade.

Council members currently make $400 a month for their efforts, with the City Council president pulling in $600 a month.

That salary schedule has been in place since 1989, when the rates were doubled, according to the city's attorney.

Bennett proposed raising the salaries to $800 a month for all council members but the president, who would make $1,200 a month.

Bennett, who noted that he himself would not accept a raise, said he didn't think council members were being adequately compensated for the amount of work they have to put into the job.

"If we want people to come and sit in these chairs and do this work we have to come up with more than $400 a month," Bennett said at Tuesday night's City Council meeting.

Some council members were hesitant to approve Bennett's suggestion, noting that people should not expect to make a living by being on the City Council.

Councilman Paul Strong, who is an accountant by day, said he thinks council should remember that the city's elected officials are meant to be comprised of "ordinary" citizens in other words, working citizens.

"I don't believe that anybody ran for office because of the salary amount," said Councilman Bud Romberg, eliciting a round of laughter from the council.

"With my typical hours, that gives me a raise from about $3 to $6," said Councilman Ken Brenner.

Bob Enever, a member of the audience Tuesday, said council should consider raising the salaries by the inflation rate as measured by the Consumer Price Index.

Bennett asked city staff to come back with figures representing how much salaries would go up if they had been adjusted upwards based on the CIP each year since 1989. To place the pay raise on the ballot, the council would only have to make a motion, not an

ordinance.

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