$700 monthly for council and $1,200 for mayor
[ By Kendra Walker ]
In a similar move to the town of Crested Butte, the Mt. Crested Butte town council is raising the pay of future council members. During the October 5 council meeting, the council agreed to include an increase in pay to the 2022 budget, with future council members seeing an increase from $600/month to $700/month and future mayors bumping up from $1,050/month to $1,200/month.
“We are putting in a lot of time and work,” said mayor Janet Farmer, who brought up the idea.
Council member Steve Morris agreed that it could help attract and retain valuable people to participate on council. “I’m hearing of new committees that are going to be formed. I think $700 is a reasonable spot. You may be able to draw out more competition for us and to incentivize a more robust political process.”
“I think money certainly helps with the amount of time that you spend on council,” said council member Lauren Koelliker. “If you work full-time and spend another 20 hours on council…and some people have to take off work for council phone calls.”
“I agree because my work as well is hourly,” said council member Michael Bacani. “If I have to take a committee call like a Region 10 transportation call that takes three hours, I can’t bill for that. It’s not the pay, it’s the cost that’s lost. It’s not going to make up for it but it soothes the burn a little bit.”
The only council member who voted against the pay increase was Nicholas Kempin, who argued that an increase had already been enacted a few years ago. “We haven’t even fully implemented the one we passed. We have two councilors who are not being paid under the current regime. We haven’t even gotten you all into the current increase and here we are going to change it again,” he said.
“I view this as more community service than pay,” Kempin continued. “I wasn’t in favor of the pay increase last time and I’m probably not going to vote for this one either.”
The council voted 6-1 to include the pay increase for future council members into the 2022 budget, which is being finalized in the next month.
Koelliker noted it would also be useful at a future meeting to come up with some council norms of what’s expected from each other. “We have committed loads that are not equal. We have some people who check their emails, some who don’t. As a council, what do we expect from each other?”