UPDATED: Hutto City Manager Odis Jones suggests council members, mayor vote for compensation

Hutto City Council members and the mayor may vote on their compensation Thursday.

Hutto City Council members and the mayor may vote on their compensation Thursday.

Update, May 17, 8:52 p.m.: The ordinance to compensate Hutto City Council members passed by a 4-3 vote Thursday night. Council members Terri Grimm, Nate Killough and Patti Turner voted against the measure.

An amendment proposed by Grimm to lower the compensation rate failed to pass prior to the final vote. Grimm's amendment would have changed the rates of compensation to $750 per month for council members and $900 per month for the mayor.

Original post: Six Hutto City Council members and the mayor may be compensated for their work if they vote to approve it Thursday.

Council members and the mayor, elected to their posts by Hutto’s voters, have not been compensated in the past. City Manager Odis Jones said he has asked CFO Anthony Emadi to present a budget amendment to council that allocates funds for the compensation.

In a memo to Mayor Doug Gaul and Council Members Scott Rose, Tom Hines, Nate Killough, Tim Jordan, Lucio Valdez and Terri Grimm dated May 7, Jones said after “reviewing the compensation of other cities, including Georgetown and San Marcos, the compensation recommended is $1,500 monthly for the mayor, and $1,200 monthly for Council Members.

“This is still a modest amount, and assuming you conservatively work only part-time hours, it would provide a compensation of approximately $17 and $14 per hour,” Jones continued in the memo.

At those rates, the proposed budget amendment for Thursday’s meeting would be $104,400.
Jones said when Hutto voters approved a Home Rule Charter with 70.43 percent approval in February 2004, it included language in Section 3.04 that stated: “The Mayor and Council members shall receive compensation as may be fixed by ordinance; provided, however, that they shall be entitled to all necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their official council duties upon approval by the City Council.”

In the memo, Jones said he is respecting the will of the voters by following the charter and this move may “encourage more citizens to participate in local government, as doing so does take a considerable amount of time and energy.

“Your selfless service in being available 24/7 to constituents and carrying an added workload of studying council material and participating in frequent and long late-night council meetings throughout the entire year is reason enough,” Jones said of the proposed compensation. “However, I realized that I have failed to include compensation for city Council in our budget as directed by the voters.”

The City Council meeting is 7 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 401 W. Front St., Hutto.
By Joe Warner
Joe Warner is executive editor of Community Impact Newspaper. He previously served as managing editor for Central Texas and senior editor of the flagship Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto newspaper. He came to Central Texas from Metro Detroit, where he was editor and general manager of several daily and weekly publications. He is the former president of the Michigan Press Association and was on the MPA board of directors for nine years.