During the most recent Minot City Council meeting, the committee voted to increase their pay as well as the mayor’s, and the decision is raising some concerns.
$18,000 — that’s how much Mayor Shaun Sipma will make beginning next year, doubling his current salary.
We sat down with Sipma earlier today to see why the pay increase was needed, and how he said it will benefit others in the future.
“Dial back 20 years. The amount of interaction was quite a bit less in terms of 24/7 access,” said Sipma.
That’s one of many reasons the Mayor is saying it’s time for a pay increase– for both him and the city council members. They waited so long because it’s been voted on many times in the past and was denied. And, Mayor Sipma also says the increase is something they need to consider for elected officials in the future.
He added, “I think if we look at someone who is making a decision on whether or not they want to get involved with public service, one of the biggest considerations is how much time is it going to take and how much money is it going to take away from my general income.”
For the past 10 years, the mayor received $9,000 and aldermen $7,000 a year. He said doubling the amounts were just how the numbers worked out.
“When they were going through and doing the surveys for the employees of the city compared to the other communities around the ND and the upper Midwest. They also did a survey of elected officials and in doing that, that’s where the number at least got us closer to the middle ground,” said Sipma.
The price jump was one thing they knew would shock people in the city, but he said it won’t take away from other projects.
“If you take a look back to when it was a council of 14 when we reduced that number, the argument was that there were savings by not having as many aldermen. Well, those savings were just rolled into the budget at that time so that really is where the money is coming from,” said the mayor.
But not everyone we spoke with agreed with where the extra money is going.
“I think it’s disgusting. I don’t really see the purpose of it. The city has so many other needs that need to be addressed,” said Sandy Schieve, a resident of Minot.
And there are some who think otherwise.
Another resident, Margaret Hennes added, “Well, we were so far below everyone else in the state. They do a good job for us. It’s not an easy job, so I feel that they deserved it.”
Even though city council members will be making more, their salaries don’t come close to cities like Bismarck which pay its mayor over $25,000 but will be slightly more than Dickinson which pays its mayor closer to $16,000.
Mayor Sipma said he doesn’t see another increase happening any time soon.