POLL: Council raises, smaller, but back on the table

Article Highlights

  • Mail-in ballots would come in January
  • Some say residents won't have time to review final versions of proposed City Charter amendments
  • Charter committee now recommends COLA increase be considered

Should City Council get a raise?

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— Voters on Marco Island may soon decide if their elected officials deserve a raise. The idea has gone through an on-again, off-again cycle when considered by the Charter Review Committee.

Some gasped at the percentage increases, which included about a 33 percent increase for six council members and a 50 percent increase for the chairman. Few felt the dollar amounts added up to much. Council members currently earn $6,000 each year and the chairman earns $9,000. It was once considered to raise those annual earnings to $9,000 and $12,000 respectively.

“This just isn’t the time,” repeated Jack Patterson of the committee.

Committee Chairman Jim Riviere requested reconsideration at a special-called meeting Monday morning and Monte Lazurus agreed.

Lazarus, who in October opposed the idea based on the perception of giving a raise during tough economic times, became the swing voter Monday. The committee voted 4-3 in October against including raises as a ballot item of amendments to the charter. The committee voted 4-3 Monday in favor of the idea of giving smaller cost of living adjustment raises.

Riviere said with COLA likely not going up next year, the decision may not really mean much.

Regardless of the committee’s recommendation, it will be up to council Monday whether the proposed City Charter changes make it the January mail-in ballots. Then, it will be up to the voters.

City Councilmen Chuck Kiester and Jerry Gibson say they’re not sure if voters will have enough time to review the proposed changes in detail and make an informed decision.

“They’re still changing the language,” Kiester said Wednesday.

The City Charter amendments were approved on first reading by Council in October, but there have been additional changes since.

The committee changed exemptions to the amendment that would require all projects that cost more than $12 million to be approved by ordinance rather than by resolution. Septic tank replacement program (STRP) related projects and upgrading the water treatment plant are exempted.

Other proposed amendments:

- Council may launch an investigation of any city employee, including the city manager, or city department, with a vote of five out of seven council members.

- The city manager is to inform council immediately of any projected budget deviation of $250,000 or more.

- Fiscal 2008 may be the base year to calculate the city spending cap. The spending cap is currently calculated by adding 3 percent plus COLA onto the previous year’s budget. This will allow council to use 2008 figures to create a larger maximum spending limit because 2008 was the beginning of when council budgeted less than they were allowed with the spending cap.

- Council term limits will be set to no more than two consecutive four-year terms beginning with the 2014 election and no current or former member may serve more than eight years total, excluding any council members who may serve eight years and eight months due to the changes in election dates.

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Comments » 10

MarcoJimbo writes:

Our city is currently carrying $165 million in long term debt. Add another $25 million for Veteran's Park, $10 million for the Smokehouse Bay bridge, and who knows how much for the Town Center District makeover, and we've topped $200 million. A raise for so heavily mortgaging our future? I don't think so, but I would be willing to chip in for tar and feathers.

OldMarcoMan writes:

4 of the 7 Councilmen didnt even get elected till after most of those projects where already underway.
No wonder no one wants to run for Council with the likes MarcoLimbo spitting lies and poisen.

MarcoJimbo writes:

Sorry, but you're mistaken old man. The incumbent councilor who can't run in 2012 due to term limits most certainly was in office during the Collier Blvd. project ($42 million of the current debt). But what do you care? As your name implies you'll probably be taking a "dirt nap" when unchecked spending drives us into insolvency. I'd ask you to look up the correct spelling of "poison" but it would probably make you late to the mortuary.

OldMarcoMan writes:

Ok, your right. I forgot about Trotter. So its 4 of the 7.

Smeg writes:

Which pocket will they pull from, left or right?
Maybe they can request a raise via the welfare system that your income tax provides.

Should the councilors get raises they 'might' pay their monthly mortgages themselves. Less of your Federal income tax dollars will be required to bail out those lenders who got stuck with our city offical's defaulted mortgages. View the disappointment at Clerk Of Courts website.
Oh, and Marco's parks director and others need raises also.

Sailor writes:

They get paid $6,000 per year, they deserve a raise whether you agree with them or not. Why do you think only three are running for office in the next election? No one in their right mind would take the abuse they take for $6,000 a year.

August8 writes:

" No-No-N0 ??? "Not Now" Just stick your finger in the wind !!!!

Sailor writes:

August, better yet, put your name on the ballot!

u2cane writes:

I have an idea, lets make the positions volunteer oriented, NO PAY! If you live here and really care about your community you would do it for nothing.

Marconian writes:

U2cane, I agree city politics is not a wage earning position they should be happy with what they already get! The money they receive for their volunteer service (By way Of Election) is an incentive for that service not an income. A close friend of mine is on council in another city and state and only receives half of what our councilor's get and their travel time and expenses are far greater.But vote or not if they don't get it Ill be surprised! What about the rest of the city employees the ones that actually work for a living I guess they'll be left to struggle again with out a raise.Has anyone ever asked a general employee if they ever received a cost of living increase! Just curious, every year its approval is announced but never actually hear of anyone receiving it!

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