After going nearly a decade without a pay increase, the Pismo Beach City Council moved forward with a plan to raise compensation for council members and the mayor by 50 percent.
The council voted unanimously on March 6 to introduce an ordinance that will increase pay from $514.80 per month for council members and $814.80 for the mayor to $772.20 for the council and $1,072.20 for the mayor. The last time the council raised its salary was in December 2008.
"It's been 10 years," councilmember Erik Howell said.
According to city staff, the compensation will help offset expenses and lost wages incurred by council members during the course of their duties and may encourage other individuals to run for office in the future. Pismo Beach City Manager James Lewis supported the increase, stating that the council members managed a "city on the move," spending large amounts of time and energy on complex, large-scale projects.
"You definitely earned this," he told the council members.
Councilmember Marcia Guthrie, who was elected in 2016, said the raise was something she probably would have opposed prior to serving on the council as an elected official.
"If you are a conscientious council person, you spend a lot more time than people realize. There are calls to return, people to meet, meetings to attend," she said.
The raises will cost an estimated $26,606 annually. The ordinance will be brought back to the council for a final vote on March 20, and if approved, will take effect Dec. 1, 2018.
Pismo isn't the only city to recently revisit compensation for its mayor and council members. Grover Beach approved a pay increase in November 2017. Paso Robles has placed measure on the November 2018 ballot to increase council member and mayoral pay.