arkville’s mayor, aldermen and municipal judge positions will receive increases in salary during the next term of office.
Raises for the positions were unanimously approved by the city’s board of aldermen at a meeting last Wednesday night.
“We’re trying to keep pace with the other cities,” said Joe Turner, city administrator. “It’s important to take a look at the salary of judges and the board every one to two years so we don’t fall behind.”
Per the state constitution, the pay raises cannot take effect until the next term of office for each position.
Turner said it has been more than two years since an increase was approved in 2005. Before that, the last raise had occurred in 2000.
Turner recommended a $100 per month increase for the mayor, bringing the position’s monthly compensation to $1,200, which figures out to $14,400 per year.
The next elected mayor will receive the new salary. Kathy Dusenbery, current mayor, is running for first district county commissioner and will not be seeking another term as mayor. The compensation for the eight aldermen will increase from $400 per month to $450, totaling $5,400 per year.
The benefit of these increases will be seen by those candidates elected for two year terms in April 2008.
Board members presently filling a seat in the first year of a two year term will not receive this raise unless reelected in 2009. The following aldermen will continue receiving $4,800 annually until 2009: Deborah Butcher, Gia McFarlane, Marvin Ferguson and Gerry Richardson. Ward 1 Alderman Jim Brooks estimated this raise for the mayor and board is the equivalent of a five percent increase. The immediate effect on taxpayers in the first year is an additional expense of $3,600.
Turner said that other city staff who are not elected by the public receive merit-based increases of four percent annually and there are no cost of living increases in place.
The monthly compensation for the city’s municipal judge was increased from $1,100 per month to $1,500, or a total salary of $18,000 a year, which will begin after this April’s election.
Turner said his recommendation was based on a study of what other judges receive in the area. The municipal judge for Parkville previously earned $13,200 per year, compared to Riverside’s judge who makes $17,840 with fewer cases. Excelsior Springs’ judge is paid $17,199 while North Kansas City earns $17,700.
Ward 3 Aldermen Jeffrey Bay said he supports the increase for the judge because “it’s the city’s policy to get the best people that we can, this is an important job.”
Dusenbery stated that Parkville is forced to compete with larger cities who therefore have a larger income base to offer their employees.