No raises for council members
Feb 05, 2013 (Kerrville Daily Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Kerrville city council members won't be getting raises anytime soon.
Members of the city's charter review commission began meeting two weeks ago, and one of the first questions they took up was if elected officials holding municipal office should be paid more. Currently, the charter sets a $25 per meeting stipend for city council members in addition to reimbursement for travel expenses.
Commission members voted 5-1 Monday to recommend no changes to the current stipend. The commission also recommended the council set a policy regarding what reimbursable expenses council members are allowed.
Former mayor Gene Smith, who compared the compensation for Kerrville officials to the same positions in Boerne, Fredericksburg and New Braunfels, voted against the recommendation, saying elected officials should be better compensated.
"I surely believe the mayor deserves some additional compensation," Smith said. "If you go to all the meetings that you're supposed to and because the mayor has to represent the city at all functions."
According to Smith, the average pay in those three cities is $200 per month for the mayor and $100 per month for council members.
Harvey Brinkman, one of the few members of the commission who has not served on the city council, said he would defer to those who had served in the position but added that he was fine with the current stipend.
"I don't see any reason to change anything. I realize the mayor does a lot more, but he knows that going in," Brinkman said.
Commission chairman and former Mayor John Mosty said he would be OK with council members deciding their own compensation as long as it did not go into effect until after the next election, and former councilman Bruce Motheral said people don't serve on the council because of the pay.
"I look at it as a way of saying thank you to a community to serve the community.
I didn't do it to get paid. I will admit that I am very fortunate that I didn't need to get paid, and there are folks out there who can't, I will admit that," Motheral said. "But it's a service, and you know that going in. And if you didn't realize it was going to be time consuming, you were very foolish going in."
The city charter requires the council to establish a commission to review the charter every five years. The commission will recommend any proposed changes to the council, which has until March 1 to act to place amendments on the May ballot.
In addition to proposing some clarifications to the charter, the commission also voted Monday to recommend that application to be a candidate for city council require a petition with the signatures of 100 registered voters and no fee. Currently, the petition requirement calls for 75 signatures and a $25 filing fee, but the fee is waived if the petition includes 100 signatures.
The commission is meeting at 9 a.m. every Monday at City Hall. The meetings are open to the public.
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