Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

After 22 years, Safety Harbor Council considers pay raises

SAFETY HARBOR — At a time when many cities are cutting jobs and services, Safety Harbor's elected officials are talking, a bit squeamishly perhaps, about giving themselves a raise.

It has been 22 years since commissioners' salaries were augmented (except in 2005 when they gave themselves an extra $100 per month stipend). And their base pay — $6,000 for the mayor and $4,800 for commissioners — is among the lowest when compared with Pinellas County cities of similar size.

Safety Harbor's mayor and city commissioners also receive a $3,000 a year expense allowance. It's already been determined that their allowances will increase by $250 next year.

No action was taken on a possible increase to the base pay, but it will be revisited at a later date.

But some commissioners aren't comfortable with the timing of the pay raise discussion.

"I have mixed emotions,'' said City Commissioner Joe Ayoub. "We need to attract good people to serve our community, but at the same time, I'm concerned about raising salaries while we're trying to trim the budget.''

Mayor Andy Steingold agreed.

"Absolutely not, this is not timely,'' he said.

But he added that it's absurd to have gone 22 years without previously addressing this issue.

"It would be good to understand where we stand in comparison to our surrounding communities,'' Steingold said. "We're just doing a head count. There may not be any action on pay increases for the next two and a half years.''

He said residents have come forward during City Commission meetings and suggested that one way to attract quality candidates is to increase salaries.

Commissioner Nina Bandoni said she was "very surprised'' to see the item on the agenda.

"I didn't run for office for the money,'' she said. "I ran to be a part of the community and help guide the community.''

She said she assumed her salary and allowance would cover the events she is expected to attend, but it often doesn't because the average ticket price for a gala is $100. She must pony up another $100 if her husband accompanies her.

Like Ayoub, she said she would hate to see gifted leaders avoid running for office because of financial difficulties.

But like other members of the commission, "I am concerned about the timing of this because we have cut the budget significantly and funding to organizations,'' she said.

Commissioner Nadine Nickeson said she's "fine with the compensation that we have.''

"I think what we have now is perhaps a little low, but I certainly didn't take the job for the money,'' she said. "If we do get a raise, I would be donating it to the library.''

Eileen Schulte can be reached at schulte@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4153.

Comparing base pay

Here are the base salaries for elected officials in cities similar in size to Safety Harbor. These figures do not include allowances for travel and other expenses.

Oldsmar, pop. 13,959:

• Mayor makes $10,800

• Council members make $8,400

Dunedin, pop. 35,234:

• Mayor makes $10,000

• Commissioners make $8,000

Tarpon Springs, pop. 24,628:

• Mayor makes $13,000

• Commissioners make $8,000

Seminole, pop. 18,737:

• Mayor makes $9,300

• Council members make $5,562

Gulfport, pop. 13,500:

• Mayor makes $9,600

• Council members make $7,200

Safety Harbor, pop. 17,800:

• Mayor makes $6,000

• Commissioners make $4,800

After 22 years, Safety Harbor Council considers pay raises 08/05/08 [Last modified: Thursday, August 7, 2008 12:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pasco targets repeat offenders with new code enforcement tactic

    Local Government

    HOLIDAY — The out-of-date and overpriced gasoline cost on the sign outside — $2.69 for a gallon of regular — is the first indication that business isn't booming.

    Basil A. Almamluk is the owner of the closed Pure Gas station in Holiday, which has emerged as a poster child for a new "high return'' county code enforcement effort. The property on Mile Stretch Drive is littered with discarded furniture and other trash. [Photo courtesy of Pasco County Sheriff's Office]
  2. Pasco tax roll shows increase, but so, too, are budget requests

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County's tax roll grew by more than 5 percent in 2016, but it's a figure that likely would require local government budget writers to trim proposed spending requests.

    OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
New construction accounted for $693.5 million in taxable property values being added to the Pasco County tax rolls in 2016, according to preliminary estimates released by Property Appraiser Gary Joiner. Overall, the property tax roll grew more than 5 percent, according to the preliminary numbers.

  3. Tampa Bay Super Bowls: A brief history and some predictions for 2021

    Bucs

    At last, Tampa will host a Super Bowl again. It used to be that the Cigar City would host one a decade, but by the time February 2021 rolls around, it will have been 12 years since the epic showdown between the Steelers and Cardinals. Because it has been awhile, let's revisit those past Super Bowls while also peering …

    Santonio Holmes hauls in the game-winning touchdown in the Steelers' 27-23 Super Bowl XLIII victory over the Cardinals in 2009, the last time Tampa hosted a Super Bowl. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  4. Rays bats go silent in second straight loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Sure, Alex Cobb was to blame for the Rays' 4-0 loss on Tuesday.

    Derek Norris strikes out with the bases loaded as the Rays blow a golden opportunity in the seventh inning.
  5. Analysis: Manchester attack was exactly what many had long feared

    World

    LONDON — For Britain's security agencies, London always seemed like the likely target. For years, the capital of 8 million with hundreds of thousands of weekly tourists and dozens of transit hubs had prepared for and feared a major terror attack.