MIDDLETON — City Council members made a 3-1 decision Tuesday night to pass an ordinance raising Mayor Darin Taylor’s salary to $40,000 per year as a full-time mayor, a significant increase from the part-time salary of $18,000 that a Middleton mayor has historically received.
A packed crowd filled the small room for more than five hours, the majority of which was devoted to the issue of salary. About 10 residents testified during the meeting, which followed an Aug. 7 gathering where Taylor proposed the salary increase, saying he was performing duties beyond what was expected and the part-time salary was inadequate for the role. At the end of that meeting, the council declared the mayor’s salary would not exceed $52,000 per year.
Council members had also originally discussed allowing Taylor to continue working on the city’s public works and planning and zoning responsibilities, filling roles left empty in the interest of saving money. But those duties were not included in the final proposed changes, only a switch from part-time to full-time hours with reasonable compensation. Councilor Carrie Huggins said she felt $45,000 was a more appropriate number, but she felt more comfortable with $40,000.
“This is a big step for the city, and it seems like too big of a step (to do $45,000),” she said.
Councilor Brad Spencer pushed for $36,000, and voted against the motion for $40,000. He pointed out the matter could be further addressed down the road if necessary.
Several Middleton residents agreed a full-time mayor was necessary, given the town’s growth from about 2,900 in 2000 to nearly 5,600 this year. Many also said Taylor was doing a good job, and said they have seen positive changes. But some also pointed out the amount Taylor was looking for was too high, and resident Brady Fuller said he didn’t like the way the proposal was conducted.
“I think it should have been presented to the city in a different way,” Fuller said. “We already had a system in place and you took it beyond that, instead of asking the city if I go beyond, will you compensate me? That’s where I have a problem.”
Taylor assured Fuller that if he had it to do over again, he would approach the process much differently.
Council President Lenny Riccio said taxes will not increase as a result of the salary bump. The council also adopted a proposed 2013-14 budget of $7.1 million.