Council to vote on salary increase for members, mayor; Would not take effect until January 2021

Published 8:41 am Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Austin City Council discussed the possibility of a pay raise during its most recent work session.

During the open discussion segment of the work session, Mayor Tom Stiehm stated that council members should get an increase in salary, something that has not been done since 2001. A vote on an increase would also affect the mayor’s salary.

The council proposed a roughly 40 percent increase in salary. Administrative Services Director Tom Dankert stated that under Minnesota statute, the increase could not take effect until January 2021, after the next election.

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Current mayor and council member annual salaries are:

  • Mayor – $9,000
  • Council Member At-Large – $7,800
  • First, Second and Third Ward Council Members – $6,600

A 40 percent increase would raise the salaries to $12,600, $10,800, and $9,300 per year, respectively, according to City Administrator Craig Clark. This would be respective approximate increases of 1.69 percent, 1.64 percent and 1.56 percent per year between 2001-2021.

Clark said Minnesota law does not limit the rate at which the council can increase its pay.

A motion to vote on the increase was moved by Councilman David Hagen and seconded by Councilwoman Judy Enright, both of whom are retiring and will not be affected by the increase. The motion passed unanimously.

According to Clark, the council originally planned to place the vote on the increase on the agenda for its next regular meeting on Dec. 17; however, the city recently learned any pay increase must be adopted as an ordinance.

Because ordinances must be published a minimum of 10 days before the vote, the council will have to hold a special meeting to do so. A date for the special meeting has not yet been scheduled.