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Friday, Dec. 20, 2013

Olathe council boosts salaries for council members, mayor

Special to The Star

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After more than a decade, the Olathe mayor and City Council have a raise.

At its meeting Tuesday evening, council members unanimously approve boosting salaries for the mayor and council.

Before the increase, the salary for the mayor had received $750 each month and the salary for the city council members and the mayor pro-tem was $600 a month. The monthly salaries are $2,000 for the mayor, $1,200 for the mayor pro-tem and $1,000 for council members.

The raises were long overdue, said communications director Tim Danneberg.

The governing body last received raises in 1999.

Danneberg said the city has grown tremendously over the last 14 years, making city issues more complex and requiring more time from elected officials.

And a survey showed that the salaries were far below those in similar cities.

“The mayor and council members put in a lot of time, the issues they deal with are complex and they sacrifice a lot, financially and personally, to serve the community,” Danneberg said. “The salary increases won’t cover the personal or financial sacrifices they make, but it will at least help. Plus, it will make it more viable for people wanting to serve.”

Danneberg said city budgets over the past few years have raised the salary issue, but the council never wanted to address it before.

“With all the budget cuts and economic uncertainty, the council didn’t think it was the right time,” Danneberg said.

The new salaries will go into effect on Jan. 1.

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