The Rochester City Council scaled back its 2020 pay raise Monday night.
The result cuts the proposed annual salaries by approximately $13,000 for the year.
“I think moving it up incrementally is important,” Council Member Annalissa Johnson said, noting that, up to now, council salaries haven’t kept pace with inflation.
The change followed a failed proposal by Council Member Randy Staver, who suggested a deeper cut by halving the original proposal.
“Some people would argue that’s still too high,” he said.
The council still plans to base the salaries of elected officials on a percentage of the area median income for single workers in Olmsted County, but it reduced the amounts by 20 percentage points.
The change would put the mayor’s salary at 100 percent of the area median income, or $65,700, in 2020. The City Council president will receive 72 percent, or $47,300, and council members will receive 60 percent, or $39,420. Currently, the salaries are $37,657 for the mayor, $27,743 for the council president and $21,712 for council members.
Staver and Council Member Shaun Palmer opposed the change, which came after three local residents spoke during the council’s public-comment period to oppose the planned increases.
Rich Daly suggested the council take a step back from its original proposed salary increase and make a move for next year.
“Sell the proposal, rather than rushing it through,” he said.
Monday’s vote also sets a plan for 2021, requesting staff to use the original proposal when working on next year’s budget. However, the move doesn’t set next year’s salaries.
“Every year, it has to come back to us for a vote,” Wojcik noted.
Since Monday’s vote is a change from the original proposal, the council will need a second vote in February to adopt the revised ordinance and establish the new salaries.