Grandview Heights City Council is considering legislation that would boost salaries for council members and the mayor beginning in 2020 and establish a regular process through which salaries would be reviewed.
If approved by council, the mayor's salary would increase to $48,000 in 2020; $49,400 in 2021; $50,900 in 2022; and $52,400 in 2023. The salary would be paid in monthly installments.
Mayor Ray DeGraw's current salary is $39,300 and will increase to $40,500 in 2019.
The pay for council members would increase to $7,400 per year in 2020 and rise by $200 each year to a total of $8,000 in 2023.
Council members currently receive a yearly salary of $7,200. That flat rate was established by legislation in 2013 and went into effect in 2016.
The legislation now under consideration also includes a provision that would require council to review the salary rates for council members and the mayor during the calendar year following each regular municipal election.
Municipal elections are held during odd-numbered years in Grandview; the salary reviews would take place during even-numbered years.
The legislation was sponsored by Councilman Steve Reynolds.
"It's something that's been on my mind for a while," he said. "It's been since 2013 since we last looked at this issue, and it had been quite a while before that since the salaries had been increased because of the economic downtown the city went though. It wouldn't have been right to increase salaries during that time."
The new pay increases would keep Grandview's council and mayoral salaries "competitive with comparable communities" and help encourage qualified candidates to run for office, Reynolds said.
The salary issue is especially important when it comes to the mayoral position, he said.
"We're fortunate in this community to have someone in Ray's situation where he can afford to put in as much time as he does to serve as mayor," Reynolds said.
Few communities the size of Grandview are a full-service municipality "with a $150 million TIF and $500 (million) to $750 million mixed-use project like the Grandview Yard," he said. "It's a demanding job.
"We need to make sure we have a level of pay for the mayor so that it's not just people in a certain stage of life or financial position who can serve," Reynolds said. "I want to try to make sure we can continue to have an ample, adequate and qualified group of people in our community who can step up and run for office."
In 2013, when council last approved an increase, the mayor's salary was $30,000 and scheduled to rise to $36,000 in 2015 based on a previously approved schedule. Additional step increases were approved in 2013 that boosted the pay each year from 2016-19.
"At the time, some of us felt we weren't increasing the mayor's salary enough because there was concern about approving what might be perceived as too large of an increase," Reynolds said.
The city's charter review commission has discussed whether to recommend a proposed charter amendment that would establish a regular process for reviewing mayoral and council salaries.
"We're not looking at the charter needing to set a specific range of salaries or a specific set of step increases, but just the need for having a mechanism in place for council to decide on a regular basis if salaries should be increased," charter review commission Chairwoman Rebekah Hatzifotinos said.
"As it is now, the charter leaves it up to council to decide when to look at the salary issue," she said. "That's a difficult thing asking elected officials to do -- to look at raising their own salaries."
The concern is that the salary issue could be controversial and that including it in a set of proposed charter amendments might lead to the entire package being rejected by voters in November, she said.
"It's an all-or-nothing proposition. You can't separate the charter amendments into separate ballot measures," Hatzifotinos said. "So this one issue could result in all of the amendments we recommend being defeated."
Reynolds said that is a concern he shares, which is why he included the provision about mandating a regular review of salaries in the legislation.
"You may have more important, consequential changes recommended for the charter that wouldn't get approved by voters," he said.
"Hopefully, this won't be something that has to be done through the charter."
The charter review commission won't decide on what amendments it will recommend -- if any -- until June, after it completes its review of the entire charter, Hatzifotinos said.
"If council moves ahead with this legislation and approves it, that will be done before we finish our work," she said. "That's the way we'd prefer it to happen so there isn't a risk that the salary issue could impact the vote on the charter amendments."
Council was scheduled to hold second reading of the salary legislation at its March 5 meeting. The planning and administration committee also was set to discuss the issue prior to the regular council meeting.
The legislation will not be voted on until at least the third reading.