Updated: December 03, 2019 05:48 PM
Created: December 03, 2019 05:39 PM
(ABC 6 News) - In the near-decade, City Council President Randy Staver has served the city of Rochester, he’s seen a lot of change.
“Our population has grown nearly 20,000 people, we manage a budget of over $380 million each year, and we’re making pretty substantial decisions,” Staver said.
Although the city’s changed, the council’s pay and the mayors have stayed relatively the same.
“These are very serious and important jobs making a hundred-million-dollar, billion-dollar decisions and you want people to be prepared and to be able to put in the time into those decisions,” said Council Member Michael Wojcik, who’s been on council for 11 years.
Monday night, things changed, and council voted six to one to more than double their pay and the mayor’s, effective January 1, 2020.
“It’s not an easy decision anytime you set your own compensation,” Staver said.
“We look at what a single person household makes typically in the area and we said we’re going to take that typical salary and we’re going to set ours to 20 percent below that,” Wojcik said.
Salaries are based on Olmsted County’s single household area median income, which is $65,700 annually.
Rochester is the third biggest city in the state with more than 100,000 residents.
After Monday night’s increase, city council members will be paid $52,560 and the mayor $78,840.
In Duluth, the city closest in size to Rochester, city council members make $13,800 and the mayor makes $97,500.
City council members in Minneapolis make $101,162 and in St. Paul, $68,728, with the city’s mayors making $129,691 and $137,400, respectively.
“Everybody understands how unpopular doing something like this is, and the fact that understanding how unpopular it is we not only did it, we did it in such a way that we gave extra notice to it and made it very available and let people react to it and let people contact us and let people change it as well that speaks to how much it needed to be done,” Wojcik said.
Staver said already he’s heard from community members.
“The response has been not unexpected, some pretty negative comments, but you know that kind of comes with the territory,” he said.
In total, the increased salaries that passed Monday night will add $250,000 to the 2020 budget, but Staver said they’re already taken care of by contingency funds.
Copyright 2019 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company