The St. Louis Park city council is looking to give itself a 2 percent raise—$136 per year—and is considering tethering the council’s pay hikes to staff salary increases in the future.
Council members are currently paid $6,807 per year, plus an additional $4,299 for members who serve on the Economic Development Authority. The mayor receives $11,796 per year.
At a Monday work session, the council directed staff to begin the process of raising all three salary levels by 2 percent.
“I don’t think any of us is doing this for the money—we’re not even making minimum wage—but I don’t want anyone to not be able to run,” council member Sue Sanger said.
St. Louis Park public officials’ salaries are somewhat lower than average for the city’s comparative group of 24 similarly sized metro area municipalities. Though when the EDA stipend is taken into account, council members currently make about 24 percent more than their peers.
During the recession, the council voted to decrease its salary by 5 percent to the current rate, which has been the same since Jan. 1, 2010.
“I tried to figure out how much time I put into the position because I know it’s different for all of us,” Steve Hallfin said. “When you’re running for office, it’s, ‘Forget about it, I never want more money,’ but we do have a bunch of responsibilities.”
Council member Anne Mavity and mayor Jeff Jacobs said that the money doesn’t significantly impact their personal finances and that they use it mostly for child care during meetings.
Council member Sue Santa, who’s running in a contested election, stayed mostly quiet during the work session, though at a July candidate forum, she said she had no plans to vote for a salary increase.A public hearing will be scheduled on the issue. Salary changes would not go into effect until after the election.