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Delray Beach mayor, commissioners looking into pay raises

Ordinance will go in front of board Aug. 18 for second reading
Posted at 10:41 PM, Aug 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-12 07:48:26-04

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — Delray Beach mayor and city commissioners agreed to move to the next step in potentially approving pay raises for city commissioners and mayor. The only vote against the measure at first reading is Vice Mayor Ryan Boylston.

"Now is not the time to address this," Boylston said.

Boylston said currently being in the middle of a pandemic and the city dealing with a budget shortfall of $9 million, he can't support the increase.

"We'll be taking a substantial amount of funds out of our reserves to balance next year's budget," he said.

Mayor Shelly Petrolia said the positions of commissioners and mayor haven't received a pay increase in 12 years.

"Moving forward on something like this just seemed like it was bad timing, and I don't disagree," she said. "But I also understand that we haven't done what we should have been doing to keep up."

Petrolia said she wants their pay to be comparable to cities like Boca Raton and Boynton Beach. She said the city charter requires them to make this move six months before an election. She said the next time they would have a chance for a pay raise would be two years from now.

"We've been working since 10 this morning with maybe, what, a couple hours break," Deputy Vice Mayor Shirley Johnson said. "I hope we're adding value and that the citizens and residents will understand."

Right now, commissioners make $750 a month or $9,000 annually. The mayor makes $1,000 a month or $12,000 yearly. The pay increase for commissioners would increase to $2,000 a month or $24,000 annually and for the mayor $2,500 a month or $30,000 annually, if passed.

Boylston believes the budget should come first.

"As of right now, we have pressed our city staff, who's already done a fantastic job of cutting down this budget, to push even harder and cut even deeper so that we don't have to go into reserves as much as we currently plan to do, so there could be cuts coming," he said.

The ordinance will go in front of the board on Aug. 18 for a second reading. If the pay increase is approved, it will not go into effect until March 2021.