New Castle Town Council holds off on pay raise vote

Post Independent New Castle news graphic

The New Castle Town Council postponed voting on an ordinance that would give a pay raise to future town council members.

Currently, the town’s five councilors and mayor pro tem each earn $370 a month; the mayor earns $470 a month.

Ordinance 2020-4, which council ultimately tabled at its May 17 meeting, proposed paying the mayor $1,000, the mayor pro tem $750 and councilors $500 a month.

The town’s charter states that if council approves a pay increase, it can’t take effect “until a subsequent term, if any” for council members who voted on the ordinance.

“What we do in the ordinance is we name a date that is slightly beyond the second election cycle,” said David Reynolds, New Castle town administrator.

Subsequently, the pay increase would not have taken effect until May 1, 2022.

New Castle’s April town council election was canceled after current council members Grady Hazelton, Crystal Mariscal and Graham Riddile were the only candidates who filed to run for the three available seats.

Hazelton, Mariscal and Riddile were still eligible to vote for the pay increase because their subsequent term does not begin until late April.

Councilors, like Riddile, did not want to vote for a pay increase they knew they were guaranteed to receive as a result of April’s election having being canceled.

“Knowing the situation, as I see it now and what I believe the spirit of the code to be, I don’t want to vote for a raise, personally, knowing that I have an uncontested election,” Riddile said. “That just doesn’t sit right with me.”

Council members also favored postponing the vote to allow more residents the opportunity to comment on the ordinance, in person, should they chose to.

“We may want to table this conversation also until we have an environment that’s a little more inviting for the public to come in,” Riddile said.

The rest of council agreed to postpone any vote concerning the ordinance to a later date.

The New Castle Town Council meets twice a month and its members serve four-year terms.

The town also looked at how much neighboring municipalities paid their own, locally elected officials.

Silt’s mayor earns $600 and councilors $400 a month. Silt has a population of just over 3,000 residents.

The mayor of Glenwood Springs receives $1,200 and city councilors $1,000 a month.

Glenwood Springs has approximately 10,000 residents.

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