Thursday, February 26, 2004
The Oak Creek mayor's salary of $90 a month will not be raised more than 10 times to $1,100 a month, the Oak Creek Town Board of Trustees decided Thursday.
For the past few months, town trustees have discussed increasing the mayor's salary, reasoning that because the town does not have a manager, mayor Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman has been serving in the mayoral position as a full-time job.
Town trustees decided to hold off on that substantial raise, saying that Rodeman's $800 a month position as the town's grant writer helps compensate her for her work.
However, the Town Board voted to pay the mayor and town trustees on a per-meeting basis instead of a monthly basis. Each trustee will receive $35 per regular meeting attended, $25 per special meeting and $20 per work session, instead of the $75 a month they now receive, with the mayor receiving $45, $35 and $30 for each respective meeting. A similar payment schedule was used before 2001.
The question of raising the mayor's salary came up at budget meetings late last year. Town Trustee Mike Kien said he was more comfortable with raising the mayor's salary than with paying Rodeman as the town grant writer. But he said that if all other trustees wanted to pay Rodeman as a grant writer, then he felt the town should "carry on like we are."
Town Trustee Jim Eskridge suggested putting the mayoral salary question on a ballot, but Kien said the trustees had a responsibility to make that decision.
Town Trustee J. Elliot reiterated a point he made earlier: that the town needs an active town manager or an active mayor. He said what worried him about changing the mayor's salary was that a person could be elected to the position who did not earn his or her pay.
The Town Board considered research from Town Clerk Nancy Crawford that described payment schedules for mayors in four small Colorado towns that also serve as the town administrator or manager.
According to Crawford's research, Ault, DeBeque and Larkspur each pay their mayors $200 a month. Mountain View pays $675 a month to a mayor who has served for 14 years and whose duties and positions "evolved," while Central City pays $687 a month.
Of the Colorado communities Crawford researched, 43 pay their mayor nothing, 25 pay between $25 and $100 a month, 27 pay between $200 and $500 and two pay more than $500 a month.
Elliot also suggested that each board be able to set the compensation for the mayor based on the mayor's performance, but other trustees disagreed, and Crawford said that the town's attorney said that method probably would not be best.
Also at the Thursday meeting, the Town Board decided to add a ballot question to the town's April election asking voters whether term limits for town officials should be removed. The ballot question will only appear if there are enough people running for the mayoral seat and three trustee seats that are available.
Town Trustees in favor of eliminating term limits said it is difficult to find candidates in the small town, and so anyone who wants to serve should be given that chance for as long as possible.
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