New Castle Town Council may give pay raise to future town councilors

The pay raise, if approved, would not take effect until 2022.

Post Independent New Castle news graphic

New Castle’s sitting town council may decide to give future mayors and councilors of the town a raise. 

Currently, New Castle’s mayor earns $470 a month and its town council members $370 a month. 

Ordinance 2020-4, if approved at Tuesday evening’s regularly scheduled town council meeting, would increase the mayor’s compensation to $1,000 a month. 

Additionally, under the ordinance the mayor pro tempore would earn $750 a month and New Castle town councilors $500 a month.

Town council cannot vote to increase its own pay. Therefore, the raise, if approved, would not take effect until 2022 – following two council elections. 

“It’s been 10 years,” Mayor Art Riddile said of council’s last raise. “We thought it was about time and when they go into effect it’ll be 12 years.”  

At a work session earlier this month, the New Castle Town Council looked at what nearby municipalities of comparable size paid their locally elected officials. 

Carbondale, which has a population of just under 7,000 residents, pays its mayor $1,500 a month and trustees $900 a month.

“It probably averages 10 to 15 (hours per week),” Carbondale Mayor Dan Richardson said. “I probably spend just as much time responding to emails as I do attending meetings.”

Carbondale’s Board of Trustees meets twice a month and meetings can run over three hours depending on the agenda.

“You shouldn’t be paid on a fair hourly wage to do this job,” Richardson said. “There should be some component of public service in it, in my opinion.” 

Glenwood Springs, which has nearly 10,000 residents, pays its mayor $1,200 a month and council members $1,000 a month.

“The job’s probably 20 to 25 hours a week and it’s not just going to meetings. It’s studying agendas, reading reports,” Rick Voorhees, Glenwood Springs city councilor, said. “Sometimes the agendas are 350 pages long.”

The Glenwood Springs City Council meets on the first and third Thursday every month in addition to work sessions. 

“All in all it’s a very poor hourly wage but I think a real satisfying thing to do for the community,” Voorhees said. 

The town of Silt, which has a population of just over 3,000, pays its mayor $600 a month and councilors $400 a month.

New Castle has a population of approximately 4,800 residents.

“We’re way behind compared to other municipalities,” Riddile said. 

New Castle recently canceled its upcoming municipal election because not enough candidates decided to run. However, Riddile said the raise was not an attempt to generate more interest in getting residents to seek local office.

“We’re looking at major transportation issues in our area. We’re looking at recreation increasing,” Riddile said. “This takes time and commitment not just from me but from all of our other councilors too.”  

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