Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly members will consider whether to bump and inflation-proof the borough mayor’s salary when they convene for their Jan. 17 meeting.
Included in the assembly’s Tuesday meeting packet is legislation that would increase the Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor’s salary from $99,000 to $130,000. The legislation if ultimately approved for introduction, would be up for a vote on Feb. 7.
The ordinance says the mayor’s salary was set at $79,000 in 1990 and increased to $99,000 in 2011. According to the legislation put forth by Navarre, the mayor’s salary would have increased to $135,000 if adjusted for inflation from 1990 to 2011 and to $170,000 if adjusted for inflation from 2011 and 2022.
In determining inflation changes, the proposed code would adjust the salary every three years in an amount equal to the average of the three prior annual percentage changes in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Alaska. If the index is flat or negative, the mayor’s salary would not be adjusted.
“The purpose served by increasing the Borough Mayor’s salary is to encourage additional experienced managers to consider public service,” the proposed ordinance says.
Sponsor Mike Navarre wrote in a Dec. 21 memo to assembly members that the mayor position is “first and foremost a full-time management position for an area approximately the size of West Virginia, with a population of a little over 58,000.” Navarre acknowledged that it is awkward to bump pay for elected officials but said there’s a need for consistency within the borough.
“The political realities of adjusting the pay of elected officials are always difficult. I believe a consistent process is needed that both recognizes the job responsibilities and compensates fairly, including consideration of inflationary adjustments,” Navarre wrote.
The legislation, if approved, would not take effect until the beginning of the next full term of the borough mayor, or in October 2023. Because whoever is elected mayor during next month’s special election will not serve a full term, the raise would not apply to them. The raise would not apply to Navarre.
Tuesday’s assembly meeting can be streamed live on the borough’s website at kpb.legistar.com.
Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at email@example.com.