By Jessica Sanchez and Mike S Payton, Contributing Reporters
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA – On November 5th, the City of Miami Beach will vote on 3 of 6 City Commission seats, as well as six important ballot questions facing residents. One of those is whether the Mayor and City Commissioners annual pay, after not being adjusted for half a century, should be increased in 2021.
The ballot question is if the Mayor’s annual compensation should be changed from $10,000 to $75,636, as well as the compensation of each City Commissioner from $6,000 to $45,381.
The Miami Beach City Charter was last amended in 1966 when it established the $10,000 annual compensation for the mayor, and a $6,000 annual compensation for each City Commissioner.
These new amounts reflect the annual cost of living increase from 1966 to the present, using the Consumer Price Index issued by the U.S. Department of Labor. If approved by the voters, the new compensations will be adjusted annually, based upon the Consumer Price Index, by an amount not to exceed three percent per year.
According to PayScale, the average Mayor salary in the U.S. is $56,488, not including bonuses. An entry-level Mayor with less than one year experience can expect to earn an average total compensation (includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay) of $50,788 based on eight salaries.
The site also reports that an experienced Mayor with 10-19 years of experience earns an average total compensation of $70,000 based on 24 salaries. In their late career (twenty years and higher), employees earn an average total compensation of $69,000.
Frank Del Vecchio, head of the South Point Neighborhood Association said, “YES to vote, (172), for an increase in salaries for the mayor and the City commissioners.”
Adding, “The responsibilities for members of the city commission in an age where citizen correspondence requires prompt response, and where the cost and complexity of city business places intense demands on commissioners’ times, warrants a long-deferred increase in their annual compensation.”
Early voting has been open since October 21st but so far just over 1,200 residents have cast their ballot. The early voting will be open through Sunday, November 3rd, at either the two Miami Beach Early Voting sites; Miami Beach City Hall (First Floor Conference Room) at 1700 Convention Center Drive, and North Shore Branch Library at 7501 Collins Avenue.
Tanya K. Bhatt, President of Miami Beach United, a volunteer non-profit group of local activists, shared on Monday, “As with any election at any level, for any office/issue, voting is a fundamental right and responsibility for every citizen.”