MABTON - A pay increase for Mayor Velva Herrera at the city council meeting last night, June 27, was approved by council members. The current position pays $120 per month. A request had been made by the members of council at the previous meeting to increase Herrera's compensation to $500 per month.
A pay increase for the mayor is not accounted for in the current budget, but the city received extra funding that will cover the added cost.
The average pay for mayors in the Yakima Valley is $450. The Sunnyside mayor earns $200 per month and Union Gap's mayor earns $2,000 a month.
The motion brought forth a flurry of discussion about whether the increase should be passed. Mario Martinez, a council member said, "This town has been stagnant for the last 10 years and you should be compensated for what you do, she is putting in the leg work."
"She has been working on beautification projects around Mabton," said council member Angel Reyna. Many other council members agreed that she is putting in a fair amount of time into the position of mayor.
By increasing the mayor's pay the council members are hoping to make future mayors more involved and proactive.
The point was made by city attorney John Maxwell, that the pay raise is permanent, meaning if Herrera leaves the position of mayor, the next person will receive the same pay and may not put in the same amount of effort.
There is no stipulation that says a mayor has to put in a certain amount of hours.
The pay increase will be effective July 1.