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THE REFERENDUMS FOR ST. PETERSBURG BEACH

The St. Petersburg Beach mayor and city commissioners once again are trying to get their first pay raise since 1980. A referendum on the ballot asks voters to double the mayor's pay from $300 to $600 a month and raise the commissioners' monthly checks from $200 to $400.

The same measure, on the ballot last November with two very unpopular measures, was defeated narrowly.

The proposal for a pay raise was endorsed strongly this year by the city's Future of the City Planning Committee.

"For the amount of time the commissioners and mayor spend on city business, I wouldn't take the damn job for $20,000 a year," committee chairman Corky Bacchus said.

Bacchus said the pay increase would cost each city resident an extra $1.25 a year.

The committee actually advised the commission to seek a charter change that would let commissioners increase their own pay. Under that proposal, only new or re-elected commissioners, not those who approved a raise, could collect the larger amount.

But the commission voted 3-2 to ask the voters to approve their raise in the form of a charter change.

It's hard to find anyone in city government who opposes the pay increase.

City Commissioner Saranan Lauck voted against putting the increase on the ballotbecause she preferred the charter change advocated by the Future of the City committee. She says the timing of the ballot question is bad.

"I truly feel that the amount of pay that we have is not sufficient. . . . (but) I was definitely against going back and asking for a raise this early," she said.

City Commissioner Bruno Falkenstein, who donates his pay back to the city, opposes the increase.

"I don't think I've done a good enough job to get a pay increase," he said.

_ KAREN DATKO

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