City Council members may double salaries

November 11, 2018

Lake Havasu City Council members on Tuesday will consider doubling their compensation and doubling the mayor’s compensation starting next year.

Council members currently make $650 a month, and the mayor makes $950 a month. Compensation for the position has been in place since 1995. City council members in May asked city staff to adjust monthly salaries for the mayor and councilmembers.

City staff surveyed cities ranked between 12th and 20th in population, as Havasu is the 17th largest city in the state. From that, they determined council members should make $1,211 per month and the mayor should make $1,905 per month.

“The intent of this resolution is to set a compensation at market rate for all future councils moving forward,” Knudson said.

At $650 per month, Havasu council members make $7,800 per year, plus $360 a year for internet and cell phone costs, totaling $8,160. Avondale, with a population of 84,000, pays its council members $8,905 per year. Council members in Goodyear, Flagstaff, Buckeye, Casa Grande, Maricopa, Oro Valley and Marana, all make between $10,000 and $25,800 per year including salary and expenses.

Havasu mayors make $11,760 including the $360 internet and cell phone paid expense. Oro Valley pays its mayor $12,740, the lowest among the eight cities Havasu staff surveyed. The other seven cities pay their mayor between $17,800 and $38,000. In both cases, Flagstaff has the highest salaries for both positions.

Jess Knudson, city manager, said Havasu has a law in place that doesn’t allow councilmembers to give themselves a raise. Because of this, council members on Tuesday will vote whether to change the salaries for the newly elected council members and mayor. Two of the three newly elected council members are incumbents, but because they were re-elected, they are able to vote to change their future salary, Knudson said.

The other three council members will get the raise when they are up for re-election in two years.

Knudson said the raise would be part of the 2019-2020 budget, taking effect in July. He said there is money in the general fund to cover the increase without having to make budget cuts.

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