$1,000 PAY INCREASE FOR ISLAMORADA COUNCIL AMONG THE AGENDA ITEMS

Dais to consider doubling salary, feasibility study for bus stops

Islamorada Village Council is set to consider a second reading of an ordinance to place a referendum before voters for a $1,000 per month pay increase. PIXABAY/Contributed

An ordinance to place a proposed pay increase for council members before the voters in November and a feasibility study to revamp bus stops within Islamorada are among the items on the Islamorada Village Council’s Aug. 4 agenda. 

The meeting is the first for new Village Manager Ted Yates. He was selected following a search that concluded in May when council members picked the former Twinsburg, Ohio mayor. 

In March, Councilman Mark Gregg brought forth discussion on a possible referendum for a pay increase for council members. Per an ordinance, council members are paid $1,000 per month, or $12,000 a year. During a June meeting, the dais discussed possibly doubling that figure to $2,000 a month, or $24,000 a year. Four council members supported that pay hike during the first reading of a proposed ordinance. Councilman David Webb was the lone “no” vote. 

If council members approve the ordinance’s second reading, a referendum will be placed on the Nov. 8 ballot for voters to decide if they support a charter amendment to increase monthly compensation of council members from $1,000 a month to $2,000 a month. If the majority of voters are in favor, it would take effect following the election. 

“It’s not going to be a lot of money. It may not cover that (financial concern). As you know from the time we spend, this is a part-time job,” Gregg said in March. “I don’t think I’ve made minimum wage, but that’s OK. I signed up because I like it, not because I did it for the money.”

A survey of salaries from other Keys municipalities show Islamorada on the lower end for council compensation. Key West’s seven commissioners make $20,000 a year, while Marathon council members make around $21,000 (with exception of one who makes $18,000, with $771.31 going to the Florida retirement system per month). 

Outside the Keys, Marco Island commissioners make just $6,000 a year, while Treasure Island commissioners get $5,400 a year. Ormond Beach commissioners receive $14,494.75 annually.

Council members will also consider a resolution to approve McFarland-Johnson Inc. for a feasibility study related to bus shelters in the village. Bus stop improvements along U.S. 1 are in the village’s 2017-23 strategic plan. During last year’s budget workshops, the village council asked for funds to install bus stop shelters throughout Islamorada. It was brought forth by Vice Mayor Henry Rosenthal out of concern for workers traveling to and from Miami-Dade County by bus. A 2021-22 adopted budget set aside $100,000 for the bus stop project. 

Per a proposed resolution, costs for the feasibility study wouldn’t exceed $27,533.74. 

The village council meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. at Founders Park Community Center.

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Jim McCarthy is a Western New Yorkers who escaped the snow and frigid temperatures for warm living by the water. A former crime & court reporter and city editor for two Western New York newspapers, Jim has been honing his craft since he graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 2014. In his 3-plus years in the Keys, Jim has enjoyed connecting with the community. “One of my college professors would always preach to be curious,” he said. “Behind every person is a story that’s unique to them, and one worth telling. As writers, we are the ones who paint the pictures in the readers minds of the emotions, the struggles and the triumphs.” Jim is past president of the Key Largo Sunset Rotary Club, which is composed of energetic members who serve the community’s youth and older populations. Jim is a sports fanatic who loves to watch football, mixed martial arts and golf. He loves to hit the links and play some softball with his Make A Play team. He also enjoys time with family (he's expecting a little boy in October).