By Bryan Boggiano
The Margate City Commission could vote to increase their salary at the Sept. 20 meeting.
Currently, the combined salary of city commissioners is $202,207, equating to $40,459.40 per commissioner. The proposed Fiscal Year 2024 budget brings that figure to $225,000, or $45,000 per commissioner.
At their Sept. 13 workshop, the commission was primarily on board with the pay raise, which amounts to 11.3 percent more than the previous year.
The pay raise is generally in line with the increase between 2022 and 2023, where the commission’s combined salary increased from $180,539 to $202,207 —- or 12 percent. Money from the American Rescue Plan Act funded the Fiscal Year 2023’s increase.
From 2021 to 2022 was much less, going from $175,622 to $180,539 —- or 2.79 percent.
In the previous three years, the total appropriated funds to the commission were $357,903, $386,118, and $ 420,329, respectively. The proposed Fiscal Year 2024 total is $498,035, or about 18.5 percent greater than Fiscal Year 2023.
Appropriated funds cover vehicle allowance, phone allowance, and business-related travel, among other measures.
The salary for a commissioner would still be below the city’s median household income, which is $52,881.
At $45,000 per year for a part-time job, each city commissioner would make almost the same as the base salary for full-time teachers in Florida, which is $47,500.
“I would think most of us agree when we say this is a full-time job; I don’t mean it as a replacement…but the dedication here is full-time,” said Commissioner Antonio Arserio.
Arserio looked to surrounding cities with similar population sizes to support the argument of pay raises, saying Tamarac pays each commissioner $57,200 while Lauderhill pays $51,900.
While Margate’s population is about 59,000 people, both Tamarac and Lauderhill each have slightly over 70,000, according to U.S. Census data.
In his remarks, Vice Mayor Tommy Ruzzanno said it takes a lot of time and commitment to be on the commission, where elected officials, including himself, have found themselves to be targets of threats.
He said he would support the pay raise as long as the city continues to provide quality services to residents.
Ultimately, by a 4-1 consensus, the city commission agreed to explore the option of a pay raise further.
Commissioner Joanne Simone was the lone “no” vote. She stated her reason was to represent the people rather than receive a paycheck.
“This is a public service job, and I believe in public service,” she said.
An official and final vote will occur at the city commission’s budget hearing on Sept. 20, starting at 6 p.m.
- A University of Florida journalism graduate, Bryan plans to pursue geosciences at Florida International University for his master's. He has a strong interest in weather, entertainment, and journalism.
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