Published On: Tue, Aug 9th, 2016

Two Referendum Questions on the Aug. 30 Ballot

Voters in Boca will have their say on two referendum questions concerning the Boca Raton city council in the August 30th primary election. Voters are to decide on the pay raises of the council members, including the Mayor, and a new referendum amending the way that vacancies on the council will be filled.

The first question concerns the amendment to the city charter which states that “Vacancies on city councils filled by appointment until the next regular city election.”

This means that if a council member were to leave their seat vacant for any reason, the rest of the council would have a vote to appoint a new council member. The change, which was proposed by Councilman Scott Singer has the purpose of giving voters a better say in who will fill the empty seat left by any council member, including the mayor.

The change states, “The proposed charter amendment would provide: vacancies on city council, including the office of mayor, will be filled by special election for the unexpired term.” Rather than fill the empty seat without voter say, with the amendment, the city would hold a special election at some point within 90 days of the vacancy. This gives the residents a say in who is representing them if a councilmember resigns. On the other hand, holding a special election could cost the city thousands of dollars.

The other proposed referendum is an increase in salary for all city council members including the mayor. The current salaries of the council members sit at $7,200 annually, and the mayor’s salary is $9,000 annually. The proposed raise of the council members would bring their salaries to $28,000, and the mayor’s to $38,000.

For comparison, in Delray Beach, the mayor’s salary is $12,000 annually, and the commissioners salaries are $9,000. Boynton Beach salaries are higher with the Mayor making $18,809, and the commissioners making $15,675 annually.

The pay raise has been discussed at various meetings throughout the year. If approved by the voters, this will be the first pay increase for Boca Raton’s elected officials in more than three decades. Our Mayor and Council Members set policy for a municipality of over 90,000 residents. Although the jobs are listed as part-time, council members have said that they spend 20 to 30 hours per week on city work.

The salary increase was proposed by a Boca resident to help to continue to attract qualified candidates for these positions in the future.

On Tuesday, August 30th, registered voters must go to their designated poll location to cast their vote. More information at:  https://www.pbcelections.org/precinctfinder.aspx.

 

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