Panel recommends $1,300 raise for FD council members

Fort Dodge City Council members ought to get a raise, but the mayor should not, a panel charged with reviewing the elected officials’ pay recommended Monday.

The five-member Salary Advisory Review Board voted unanimously to recommend a $1,300 raise for council members in a move that would increase their salary to $6,100 a year.

The seven council members are now paid $4,800, an amount that has remained the same since 2002.

”There’s no way that they’re adequately compensated at $4,800,” said Jim Koll, a member of the review board.

He added that ”11 years without an increase seems ridiculous.”

On a 4-1 vote, the board recommended that the mayor’s salary remain at $15,000.

Koll and board members Kathy Bond, Martha Hagar and Lloyd Schachtner voted yes. Board Chairman Tom Chalstrom voted no.

Chalstrom said he believes it’s fair to recommend a raise for the mayor since the salary for that position has remained unchanged since 2006 even though the cost of living has increased since then.

The mayor’s position has been a part-time job since the city manager system was implemented in 2006.

The board’s recommendations are expected to be submitted to the council for action on March 11. If the council approves the increase, it will not go into effect until January 2014.

Before acting on its recommendation for the council raise, the board heard from councilmen Dean Hill, Mark Taylor and Don Wilson.

Hill said during the winter he spends 20 to 30 hours a week on city business. During the summer, he said, he can spend in excess of 40 hours a week on council duties because of increased complaints from citizens.

Wilson said the price of gasoline has doubled in the 10 years he’s been on the council.

Taylor said he spends 20 to 30 hours a week on council business.