The Riceboro city council recently voted to increase monthly pay rates for incoming elected officials, according to Riceboro Mayor Bill Austin.
Austin said that currently, he is paid $1,100 per month, while the mayor pro-tem receives $750 monthly. Three other council members are compensated at $400 a month.
Under the new pay scale — which will take effect in 2016, after Riceboro’s city election this November — elected officials will be paid the following monthly rates: $2,500 for the mayor, $1,500 for the mayor pro-tem and $1,100 apiece for the council members.
“The primary issue is, we don’t have a city administrator or any department managers, because we can’t afford them,” Austin said. “So it puts a heavy burden on the guys who are serving … over the various departments.”
Austin explained that the three council members and the mayor pro-tem each are assigned a “major city function” to manage.
Currently, Mayor Pro-Tem Tommy Williams oversees the city’s water and sewer department; Councilman Chris Stacy is in charge of community development; Councilman David Miller manages roads and parks; and Councilman John Young runs the city’s volunteer fire department.
Austin also said that Riceboro’s growth adds to its elected officials’ responsibilities.
“The city is continuing to grow because we’re adding programs, and those programs require a lot of effort to keep going,” he said. “So as we continue to add programs to improve the quality of life for the citizens, it demands a lot more of the time for the councilmen.”
Austin insinuated that the pay increase would be temporary.
“The idea is that it will remain in effect until the city grows to the point where it can actually hire administrators and department managers,” he said.
The motion to approve the new pay scale was unanimously approved at the council’s Jan. 6 meeting.