Avon City Council is reviewing pay for the city’s elected officials, something that hasn’t been updated since 1996. The proposed changes – if passed – would take effect from 2024 once all current members would have completed their service.
City Council first considered a proposal that would double the current pay at its July 26 meeting. And while all board members were in favor of increasing board compensation, the board had a few proposed changes. This included a more tiered increase in compensation, a health insurance credit, and the removal of a proposal for additional compensation based on board participation on outside committees.
Currently, council members receive $500 per month for their service, with the acting mayor receiving $750 per month and the mayor receiving $1,000 per month. According to a report published in the July 26 Packagethe cumulative inflation rate from 1996 — when these rates were established — to 2022 is 88.9%.
At this meeting, it was proposed that the pay be doubled for all members as it “restores roughly the level of pay established in 1996 when adjusted for inflation”, according to the director’s recommendation. municipal Eric Heil in the report.
It was also proposed that this new compensation would not take effect until December 2024, at which time all current board members would no longer be in office.
While the Board was in favor of the increase and timing at its last meeting, Board Member RJ Andrade raised the idea of increasing compensation “more gradually”.
“I think it’s a big leap, doubling everything,” Andrade said. “I don’t like the amount we’re doing, but I think it should be increased and I think we should establish some sort of policy where maybe every two election cycles, when the Council turns around, you revise to keep it in line with inflation or something like that.
In the proposal currently being examined by the Council at its meeting on Tuesday, August 9, compensation would be incrementally increased with each election cycle, with an inflationary increase proposed in 2028. As proposed, compensation would increase as follows:
- By December 11, 2024, board member compensation would increase to $750 per month; mayor pro tem at $1,125 per month; and mayor at $1,500.
- By December 9, 2026, board member compensation would increase to $1,000 per month; mayor pro tem at $1,500 per month; and mayor at $2,000.
- By December 12, 2028, board member compensation would increase to $1,100 per month; mayor pro tem at $1,650 per month; and mayor at $2,200.
The second new idea presented to the Board at the August 9 meeting is looking at a health insurance credit, something some Board members wanted more information on as other peer communities had credit. similar.
Mayor Sarah Smith Hymes raised the issue, saying some comparative communities donate a ‘percentage of what’s saved’, either council members not signing up for the city plan or only signing up for them. themselves and reimbursing it to the advisor.
Currently, all Board members, in addition to their compensation, are eligible for health insurance benefits as defined in Avon’s employee policies.
In the August 9 package, council members can consider several options regarding health insurance. This includes:
- Make no changes;
- Provide a monthly credit of $450 to council members who decline health benefit coverage, which the package says would equate to an annual expense to the city of $5,400 per member who declines; and
- Providing health benefits only to the board member, with the ability for members to pay the cost difference in the employee premium if they need spousal or family coverage, which the package contains would cost an additional $2,000 per year.
Although the Board will decide specific details at its August 9 meeting, there are several general reasons why Board members support the compensation increase. Since it hasn’t been adjusted for 26 years, the proposed increase would not only keep up with inflation, but also open doors for a more diverse population to serve on the board.
“We spend so much more time on this board than everyone sees and I would really like to see other demographic groups represented on this board,” said board member Lindsay Hardy.
“Really, it’s important that, if somebody wants to run for council, they can afford to be here and take that time – whether it’s childcare, transportation, to take that time off. – because there is a time commitment involved,” said Scott Prince, Council Member.
Additionally, Mayor Sarah Smith Hymes agreed that while the compensation proposal was a “big leap,” it was more reflective of the engagement and participation expected of council members.
“It’s work and I think paying a reasonable amount of money also sends a message to our advisors that we value their time and expertise and it also sets an expectation for engagements,” she said. declared. “Receiving fair compensation sends a clear message that there is an expectation of commitment and involvement.”
Avon City Council is due to discuss council pay at its meeting on Tuesday August 9 from around 6pm. The meeting will take place both in person at Avon Town Hall (100 Mikaela Way) and virtually via Zoom (sign up at Avon.org).
Journalist Ali Longwell can be reached at [email protected]