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Pay question could go to vote

Putting option to pay mayor on ballot likely to be discussed

Susan Cunningham

Whether to pay Oak Creek’s mayor as a part-time employee could be decided by a vote during the town’s April election.

The option of putting a question on the April ballot likely will be discussed at the Oak Creek Town Board meeting tonight, Mayor Kathy “Cargo” Rodeman said.

Raising the mayor’s salary to $1,100 a month — a more than tenfold increase over the $90 a month Rodeman now receives — would change the town’s structure to a “strong mayor” system with a working mayor. Currently, the town has a weak mayor system in which the mayor has no more or less authority than other town trustees, Rodeman said.

The town trustees also will consider changes to their own salaries from the $75 per month to $35 each per regular meeting, $25 per special meeting and $20 per work session.

An ordinance up for a vote tonight would keep the mayor’s salary at $90 per month but change the town trustees’ salaries, said Town Clerk Nancy Crawford.

The town trustees will consider that ordinance and likely will discuss changes to the mayor’s salary.

The issue first came up at the town’s Jan. 22 meeting and was the result of talks during budget discussions earlier in the year.

Rodeman said she has since heard from many people who support the idea of raising the mayor’s salary.

“Everybody I meet is like, ‘Are they paying you yet?'” Rodeman said. “It’s all been very supportive.”

Rodeman, who is paid $800 a month to be the town’s grant writer, said she didn’t know how much work the mayor position would involve when she ran.

Trustees approved a town manager position in 2001 against a vote from the public, but that position was filled for only a year.

Taking care of essential infrastructure, of which some has been “neglected for 60 years,” easily becomes a full-time job, Rodeman said. She thinks most people who would run for mayor would be willing to put the time in that it requires.

“I don’t know how you could get elected and know how much work is needed in this town, and not jump in with both feet and want to make it better,” Rodeman said.

The Town Board also will discuss the Sierra View Subdivision annexation agreement, its opposition to Steamboat Springs’ application for a recreational in-stream flow water right on the Yampa River and the new water treatment plant.

The Oak Creek Town Board meets at 7 p.m. today at Town Hall in downtown Oak Creek.


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