City commission authorizes compensation increase

Vincent Marshall
Dodge City Daily Globe

At the Dodge City Commission meeting on Monday, city commissioners approved a compensation increase for the mayor and commissioners.

"The last time that the city commissioners compensation was reviewed was in 2001," said city finance director Nicole May. "So over the last 20 years as you all know that the time commitment and such required being a city commissioner has significantly increased due to the growth of the community and the number of projects that the city has undertaken."

May said she made the suggestion that the biweekly pay for commissioners increase to $400 and the compensation for mayor increase to $600. Both commissioners and the mayor had been receiving $200 biweekly.

"I have reservations about the mayor making more than the other commissioners," Mayor Rick Sowers said. "It's an honor to be selected mayor amongst the other commissioners. I know there's a time commitment and stuff, I just don't want this to be a position that becomes argumentable because of a salary increase. I'm going to go with whatever the crowd says, but it still concerns me."

Commissioner Joseph Nuci said he believed that with the extra duties that come with being mayor, the position should be compensated more.

"Especially when we get back to going to Kansas City, Topeka, other things that you have to attend," Nuci said. "So I'm good with this. I think it's been 20 years and just increasing it slightly, not tremendously, I think it's a great idea."

Commissioner Brian Delzeit, who has served as mayor twice, also agreed regarding the time put into being mayor.

"It does take a lot of time, where as this compensation has not been looked at in 20 years," Delzet said, "compared to the (Ford) county commission, which has about the same time frame input at the job as we do, and even with this increase, we are significantly less than what that commission pays. I think it is very fair to the commission, very fair to the taxpayer, and I believe the mayor should be paid more for the duties he or she performs."

Commissioner Kent Smoll added, "I know its an extreme time commitment, whether its as commissioner or mayor, and you do it because of the love for the city more than any reason, but at the same time there's nothing that says — I don't see an issue with the mayor receiving more."

The approval for the commissioner and mayor compensation increase was approved 4-0.

Sowers also addressed the increase in terms of the sales tax for the year, saying that despite COVID-19, the city's sales tax revenue increased 2.5% for the year. Key to that are STAR bond projects, such as the new Sutherlands home improvement center.

"We continue to watch the budget, we continue to lower the mill levy, the one fear I have a little bit with this is how are we going to get back since we didn't have the budget for this issue and will continue to watch the mill levy as it's set in the middle of this year," Sowers said.

May added that additional funding that would have been used from the city general fund for projects were made possible with SPARKS funding from COVID-19 relief that municipalities and counties received.

Commissioners also set new fees for solid waste collection.

According to May, previous years had recycling fees combined with sanitation fees and only charged to those customers who had sanitation service.

"It will be a separate fee that will be accessed to all utility customers, not just those customers who are taking sanitation services so this will $2.50 per month," May said.

The move would affect close to 1,000 to 1,500 accounts.

The fee separation for recycling was approved 4-0.

Commissioners also approved unanimously a re-plat of Summerlon Addition Phase VI for housing.

The re-plat will shift the lot line that runs east to west to the north by 3 feet.

To contact the writer, email vmarshall@dodgeglobe.com.