Silt doubles the rate of pay for trustees, mayor
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
SILT, Colorado – The town’s trustees agreed on Monday to essentially double the monthly pay for the work they do, but the action will not take effect until after the 2014 municipal election.
The pay hike will raise trustee pay from $100 per regular meeting attended (plus $250 per special meeting) to a flat rate of $400 per month.
The mayor’s paycheck will increase from $200 per regular meeting attended (plus $350 per special meeting) to a flat $600 per month.
The matter is to be formally voted on at a future meeting of the trustees.
But Monday’s decision means there would be no raise this year for the only incumbent seeking re-election on the current municipal ballot, Sonny Fernandez.
Fernandez is one of four candidates vying for three open trustee seats in the ongoing, mail-ballot election, which end on April 3. The other candidates are Jeffrey Lavalla, Leanne Richel and Keith Richel.
If the pay raise had been adopted as an emergency ordinance, as was proposed by Silt Mayor Dave Moore, it would have been effective immediately following the April 3 election and applied to the winners in the election, which potentially includes Fernandez.
Town administrator Pamela Woods, at the Monday trustee meeting, said the trustees agreed prior to the meeting to approve the raises as a nonemergency matter.
As a result, the pay increase will not take effect until after the next municipal election, in 2014.
Mayor Pro-Tem Rick Aluise, who opposed the pay raise, noted that under the town’s home rule charter, any emergency ordinance requires approval by a supermajority of five trustees.
He noted that both he and Trustee Paul Taylor voted against the pay raise at an earlier meeting. With only six members on the board, due to a vacancy, a supermajority in support of the pay raise would not have been possible, Aluise said.
Aluise said he remains opposed to the pay hike. He said there is no need for Silt trustees to earn the same pay as city council members in larger towns, such as Rifle.
“I’m not certain that higher pay necessarily guarantees a sound-thinking board,” he added, with a grin.
But the mayor, who has been the driving force behind the pay raise, disagreed with Aluise.
“I feel we are CEOs for the town of Silt, in a manner of speaking,” Moore said. “We have 28 to 30 employees and a multi-million-dollar budget. We are not volunteers.”
He said the people elected to serve as trustees “have chosen to come on the board to be paid to do a job. We should be treated like regular employees. I feel that we deserve more than we are asking for.”
Moore’s statements earned praise from an unexpected source.
Former trustee and occasional political foe of the mayor, Bobby Hays, commended the trustees for adopting the pay raise as a regular ordinance rather than an emergency measure.
“Believe it or not, I’m going to have to agree with the majority of what the mayor has said on this matter,” Hays said during a public comment period on the issue.
Trustee Taylor, agreeing that trustees are not paid enough for the work they do, nevertheless remained opposed to the raise.
“I don’t believe it is in the best interests of the citizens of Silt,” he said, given the tough economic times.
In other action the trustees:
• Learned from regional fire officials that work is under way to staff the Silt fire station, which is part of the Burning Mountains Fire Protection District, with personnel and equipment to provide full emergency services protection 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The station is expected to be operating within a couple of weeks, according to Karen Maddalone, president of the Burning Mountains board of directors, and Rifle Fire Chief Mike Morgan.
• Announced that the sale closed last week on the site for a new Dollar General store in town, which is to be built in the 300 block of Main Street some time this spring.
• Approved liquor licenses and special events permits for concerts at the Stoney Ridge Pavillion this summer.
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