A community group plans to ask City Council to put a measure on the April ballot that would give future council members a raise.
The proposal is still in the works, but the group wants to ask voters to boost council members annual $6,250 pay and add benefits.
“My understanding is that compensation would be somewhere between $40,000 and $45,000 a year,” council Administrator Aimee Cox said Thursday.
As it is now, the city spends about $57,200 a year on council pay and benefits. The proposed compensation increase would generate an estimated $450,000 more in costs, for a total salary and benefit cost of about $500,000 a year, Cox said.
Cox said she hasn’t seen a formal proposal but is planning an informal council discussion Jan. 7. If council endorses the proposal, first reading would be Jan. 22, she said.
“Per the election schedule, they would have to have first reading on Jan. 22,” she said, adding that public comment would be allowed at that meeting.
The proposal apparently won’t have the support of Mayor Steve Bach.
“I hear there are some folks out there who are going to try to bring forward an increase in council pay and try to get council to put that on the April (ballot),” Bach said last week in an interview with The Gazette.
“I will oppose that if that’s what they try to do because that’s a piecemeal approach. I do think that we need to talk about that as part of how to refine the city charter and make this government work better. But just cherry-picking one item to me — that’s not the highest priority. The highest priority is governance for city utilities,” he said, referring to Colorado Springs Utilities.
The mayor’s annual salary is $96,000.
John Weiss, publisher of the Colorado Springs Independent newspaper, said he is part of a group leading the effort. Weiss said “people are twirling many ideas around” and that he hopes to have “consensus on some issues” when he returns from vacation Saturday.
“I’ve been a big proponent of (increasing) council pay because right now, most people cannot afford to serve,” he said during a brief telephone interview.
“We would be better served if more people could serve.”
Cox said she plans to research what other similar-sized cities pay their council members.
In Denver, which is bigger than Colorado Springs but also has a council-mayor form of government, council members are paid $78,173 a year.
Denver’s council president, a job that carries more responsibilities, gets paid $87,539.
Closer to home, El Paso County commissioners are paid $87,300. Their salary is set by the state Legislature, county spokesman Dave Rose said.
Contact Daniel Chacón: 476-1623
Facebook Daniel Chacon