By Bryan Boggiano
Despite overwhelming public backlash and disapproval, the Margate City Commission voted to give themselves an 11.3 percent pay hike, bringing their combined salary from $202,297 to $225,000.
Held at Wednesday evening’s second budget workshop, this follows their 4-1 consensus vote at their Sept. 11 workshop.
Each commissioner will receive $45,000 per year, plus benefits. Their funds will increase from $420,329 to $498,035 in the upcoming fiscal year. This figure includes doubling the car allowance from $300 to $600.
Residents unanimously slammed the pay raise, saying the commission does not deserve a significant pay raise for a part-time job.
“I don’t understand the audacity of you to ask for 12 percent,” said Linda Steward.
Similarly, Donna Fellows said, “We have men and women out there on strike in Detroit because they deserve money. They work for their money. You all don’t deserve 12 percent, 11 percent, whatever it is.”
Others said the pay raise is insensitive since residents who are working class, elderly, have children, or have been affected by inflation are struggling.
“When you ran for your positions, you knew what you were getting,” said Elsa Sanchez.
Resident Jonathan Kraljic said any decision to give commissioners a pay raise should be the residents’ decision. He hopes to get voters to decide on a charter amendment, which would be on the ballot in the 2024 election.
He also accused the city staff of double dipping by acting in the capacity of elected officials and city employees.
Kraljic said that while people have second jobs and side hustles to supplement their income and get by, the city commission took things to another level.
“It appears you’ve found your side hustle in the taxpayers of Margate,” Kraljic said.
Residents’ commentary resonated with Commissioner Joanne Simone, who voted against considering the pay raise at the city’s Sept. 11 budget hearing.
“This is outrageous,” said Commissioner Joanne Simone. “In my opinion, it is clearly stealing from the public.”
The commission ultimately voted 4-1 to support the pay raise. Simone was the only dissenting vote.
Simone is undecided if she will take the increase, but she has previously turned down other benefits and raises, including a car allowance.
- 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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