Originally published Wednesday, July 4, 2018 at 06:03a.m.

In a split 4-3 decision, the Chino Valley Town Council voted in favor of giving itself a raise at its regular meeting Tuesday, June 26.

The raise, which increases the mayor’s annual compensation from $4,800 to $6,000 and each councilmember’s annual compensation from $2,400 to $3,600 in 12 consecutive monthly installments, goes into effect at the beginning of next year.

Mayor Darryl Croft said that it was his idea with the goal to attract some younger people to serve on the council in the future.

“If you look at the council up here, we have one young person up there that has a family,” Croft said. “The rest of us are getting up there and I thought this may be an added incentive. “

The last time compensation for mayor and council was adjusted was in July 2016 and prior to that there had not been an increase since 1983, according to Chino Valley Human Resources Director Laura Kyriakakis.

Without the increase, the Town of Chino Valley provided the lowest compensation to its mayor and council compared to other communities of similar population other than Paradise Valley which does not compensate its mayor and council, Kyriakakis said. The increase puts the town in the 40th percentile, or the 33rd if Paradise Valley is not included, she said.

Councilman Corey Mendoza voted against the increase, stating that the topic usually comes up prior to the next seated council and that since they’re all unopposed, he has a bit of an issue with voting himself a raise. It would be more appropriate two years down the line when there definitely will be some vacancies, Mendoza said. However, he was in favor of increasing the mayor’s salary.

“The time that the mayor has to commit to doing this job, it is worth a whole lot more just to cover his expenses,” he said. “He outdoes the rest of us multiple times over.”

Councilwoman Annie Lane also voted against the increase as did Vice Mayor Lon Turner, though both of them were also in favor of increasing the mayor’s salary. Lane said she didn’t run for council for the money and that it wasn’t an appropriate time to be voting for a raise for themselves and Turner said he didn’t feel comfortable doing it due it meaning that they would be voting themselves a raise as they are running unopposed.

Former Vice Mayor Ron Romley encouraged the council to raise their salaries. When he was vice mayor, he made about 60 cents an hour and $100 per month, Romley said.

“I don’t think you should feel bad about raising your salary,” he said. “I don’t think you are amiss, but the thing of it is, you guys are deserving of it.”