In final public hearing on proposed charter amendments tonight, the Dawsonville city council could vote to increase the mayor’s base salary by $400.
The most recent version of proposed edits to the city charter show the council could vote to increase the mayor’s salary from $600 to $1,000. The raise would go into effect starting Jan. 1, 2020.
The new version also nixes any mention of increases to the base salary of city council members, which were included in the initial draft.
Language that would increase council member pay by $100 a month was removed and the current base salary of $500 remains.
Also removed was a proposed increase in compensation for each city council meeting other than the first regular city council meeting of the month from $100 to $150.
The mayor and council members are each paid a monthly salary plus $100 for the second meeting each month, as well as $100 for any other pre-approved meeting they attend as a representative of the city council. They are also offered health insurance benefits, the same as any city employee.
Council member Mark French has been adamant about opposing any salary increases since the first reading of the proposed amendments and said Jan. 7 that he would not support the increases because he did not think that the council or mayor’s duties had increased to account for it.
“We all knew what the position paid when we ran for office and if you don’t like it, it’s very easy to resign from your duties,” French said last week.
Mayor Mike Eason said Jan. 24 he had no involvement in the proposal of the raises.
“Whatever they want to pay me I’m fine with,” he said. “I’m not in this for the money.”
According to the DCA’s 2018 wage and salary survey, the annual compensation amount for the Dawsonville mayor’s base salary currently falls near the middle of the list of salaries in cities with similar population sizes, but would be moved to the top five percent with the new salary.
The change is among several amendments now being made to the city charter.
Other changes include adding language to more accurately describe the way council members will be elected in the upcoming election due to the addition of district posts, as well as make it clear that in order to be eligible to serve as a city council member, candidates must reside in their district posts for at least one year immediately prior to the date they take office and continue to reside in that post during their time in office, which the old charter does not specify.
The council must hold three hearings and two votes in order for charter amendments to be ratified; the second hearing and vote was held on Jan. 22.
There will be a third and final hearing of the charter amendments 5:30 p.m. today at city hall.
The public is welcome to come and voice their opinions on any of the proposed changes.