Taylor, Texas – A city council pay raise that would result in a staggering 4,000 percent increase has faced vehement opposition from Taylor residents. During a meeting held in August, one after the other, residents expressed their discontent with the proposed measure, emphasizing the importance of the council members’ legacy over financial gain.
“Surely, the legacy you wish to have as a council member is more important than a little extra money in the bank,” commented one resident, highlighting the values that should guide the council members’ decisions.
The city council voted on the controversial ordinance, which stipulated that council members would receive $500 per meeting, while the mayor would be entitled to $750 per meeting, held twice a month.
In a previous meeting held during the summer, some council members supporting the pay raise argued that the additional income would enable them to attend events, collaborate with local charities, and better engage with their constituents while taking time away from their regular work.
However, the decision to pass the ordinance approving the pay raise was met with immediate frustration and prompted swift action. Many citizens felt that their voices had been disregarded and were determined to reclaim their influence.
“People felt like they didn’t have a voice, so that’s all,” explained Terry Burris, the organizer of a petition against the pay raise. “I’m trying to give them one.”
To validate the petition, Burris needed a minimum of 940 signatures from both county and city residents. Remarkably, he managed to gather over 1300 signatures, surpassing the required number and highlighting the substantial support for his cause.
“It felt overwhelmingly like a win,” expressed Burris, reflecting on the success of the petition. “I’m usually not an emotional person, and I was pretty emotional after that. It was awesome.”
As for the city’s response, they declined to provide a comment on the matter. However, they did explain that the council members would now have to decide whether to amend or repeal the ordinance or present it as a ballot initiative.
“They can base their votes on how well the city council is doing,” suggested Burris, emphasizing the importance of the council members’ accountability to the community.
Furthermore, Burris urged the council to take into consideration the recommendations put forth by a citizen committee, which had previously suggested a 1000 percent pay raise. By accepting the committee’s proposal, the council would demonstrate their commitment to the community and avoid the expenses associated with an election.
“They should do the correct thing and save the community the cost of an election and roll this ordinance back and accept what the citizens committee came up with,” stated Burris confidently. “They get a good raise for the next council coming in. Everybody’s happy.”
When approached for comment on this contentious issue, Mayor Brandt Rydell declined to provide a statement, leaving the situation unresolved and the council’s decision up in the air.