Options for paying Oak Creek Mayor Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman more than the $90 a month she now receives were discussed at the Town Board of Trustees meeting Thursday night, but a decision on the issue was tabled until the Town Board's next meeting.
Town attorney Bob Weiss said he needed to research the issue to determine what options were legal and practicable before he gave the Town Board advice.
Key to the discussions is to imagine future mayors who choose not to put in as many hours as Rodeman has, Weiss said.
"You've got to forget Cargo in this conversation," Weiss said. "You've got to think of somebody else sometime in the future and how you want to structure the community."
Raising the mayor's salary to $1,100 a month, a more than 10-fold increase from the $90 a month Rodeman now receives, has been discussed at Town Board meetings for the past few weeks.
The town trustees also are considering changes to their own salaries that would pay them each $35 per regular meeting, $25 per special meeting and $20 per work session, instead of the $75 a month they now receive.
Town trustees could either decide on the salary changes on their own or bring the issue to the vote of Oak Creek residents in April.
The biggest concern with changing the mayor's pay scale, Rodeman said, was that the town could elect a mayor who didn't want to work.
"Nobody, including myself, wants a nonworking mayor ... to make $1,100 a month," she said.
"How do they guarantee -- if the mayor becomes a paid position and I'm not here -- that the mayor is worth $1,100 a month?"
Weiss said he would study the issue but that as far as he knew, almost all small town government officials elected by the people get paid "nominal amounts of money."
Paying a mayor as a part-time employee would be unusual for a small town, he said.
Town Trustee J. Elliot said the town needs either a working mayor or a town manager, a point that has been brought up in the past.
He also said that the grant writing position the town created for Rodeman, which pays $800 a month, was one creative way of compensating her for the work she does for the town.
Town Trustee Mike Kien suggested that the mayor should at least be put back on a pay-per-meeting schedule, with a slightly higher pay rate than town trustees.
By changing the monthly pay schedule to a per meeting one, he said, "You're not getting stuck with the old way that's not fair to anyone."
In other business, trustees took a tour of the water treatment building and a pilot water treatment system that is working as a test run. Town Trustees also voted to oppose the recreational in-stream water rights for which the city of Steamboat Springs has filed, and discussed the state of the Sierra View Subdivision and Annexation process.