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Austin City Council votes to boost their salaries by 40%

The previous annual salary for councilmembers was $83,158.40 and the mayor’s was $97,656.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin City Council on Wednesday discussed a number of budget-related items. Among those was a potential raise for the council members themselves, which they approved.

Item No. 14 on the council's Wednesday agenda is to approve an ordinance setting salaries and compensation for the mayor and council members. The draft of that ordinance proposes a 40% pay raise for council members and a 37% increase for the mayor.

The ordinance sets the annual base salary for council members at $116,688 and the salary for the mayor to $134,191. 

The ordinance states that council's salaries and compensation were last evaluated in 2006, when an approved ordinance set the base annual salary for the mayor at $67,981 and the base annual salary for council members at $57,736. Since 2006, pay for the mayor and council members has been adjusted for the rising cost of living in Austin.

According to an Aug. 1 memo sent from the City of Austin's human resources and civil service director to council members, the current annual salary for council members is $83,158.40 and the mayor’s is $97,656. That means the new salaries proposed in Wednesday's ordinance would be a 40% increase in pay from 2022 to 2023.

RELATED: Austin councilmembers could amend budget to include $20 minimum wage

KVUE spoke with Mayor Steve Adler about the proposed increase.

“I think that when you have county commissioners and county judges that are being paid up to $160,000-plus, I know that people on this council are working at least as hard as our colleagues up the street,” said Adler.

There were some opponents of the proposed pay increase.

“We are dealing with inflation, we are dealing with an affordability crisis this council has directly contributed to, we are dealing with a public safety crisis that they have absolutely ... almost directed. It's just beyond belief,” said co-founder of Save Austin Now Matt Mackowiak

The ordinance also allows for continued cost-of-living adjustments and states that the City will conduct a market study of pay for council members and their staff in 2027 and every five years after to determine whether salary adjustments are needed.

Some have taken to Reddit to express concern and distress over the proposed new salaries for the mayor and council members, with some pointing out the difference between the proposed amounts and the salaries of teachers, first responders and others who serve the public.

KVUE reached out to other cities around the state to find out how much council members and mayors are paid. Here's a quick breakdown: 

San Antonio 

  • Council members - $45,722 per year
  • Mayor - $61,725 per year

Dallas

  • Council members - $60,000 per year 
  • Mayor - $80,000 per year

Houston 

  • Council members - $62,983 per year 
  • Mayor - $236,189 per year 

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