Pay raise for city council approved by 5-2 vote

By: 

Senior News Reporter

San Marcos City Council approved an ordinance to raise the monthly compensation for its members and the mayor by $500 each at Tuesday’s meeting.

The council passed the measure by a 5-2 vote. Councilman Jude Prather, Place 2, and Councilman Shane Scott, Place 6, voted against the proposal. Members in support of the increase cited city growth and increasing workloads.

The city council established the salary in 2007, said Mayor Daniel Guerrero. The rate has not changed since its creation.

Council members will see a monthly compensation increase from $950 to $1,450. Monthly salary for the mayor will rise from $1,200 to $1,700.

The discussion of whether to increase the rate and by how much began in 2014, Guerrero said.

Councilman John Thomaides, Place 3, said San Marcos is one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States. The council’s responsibilities have increased as a result.

“The job has changed,” Thomaides said. “The job and the time (required) has changed substantially.”

Guerrero said travel fees, rising costs in healthcare, additional committees and subcommittees and an increased workload are the main reasons to raise the salary.

Council members spend “half, if not more, of (their) working hours” on city-related duties, Thomaides said. Most meetings are scheduled during the day and cut into members’ personal work schedules.

“I do see the job has changed greatly,” said Councilwoman Jane Hughson, Place 4.

Increasing the compensation rate may have a democratizing effect on the council, Thomaides said. He said higher pay for council members would make the positions more viable for politically-minded residents who lack substantial incomes.

“We have to make a decision not only for ourselves but for future council members,” Thomaides said. “The council will benefit from members of all walks of life—working people, not just the wealthy.”