Controversy over Saratoga mayor’s salary

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – As elections heat up with primary day, Saratoga Springs is already looking ahead to November.

One item on the city’s ballot, is a reformed charter, one that would raise the mayor’s salary and bring more money to other city officials.

While some say it’s about time, other’s say tax dollars are better spent elsewhere.

When outgoing Saratoga Mayor Joanne Yepsen announced she wasn’t running for re-election, she listed her salary as just one of the reasons.

“The mayor of Saratoga Springs makes $14,500 a year and it’s not sustainable for someone like me who isn’t independently wealthy or retired with a big pension,” Mayor Yepsen said.

The mayor says although the pay is more like part time money as Saratoga Springs has evolved and grown, she’s working around the clock.

“When you are making that amount it’s very difficult to just focus on being mayor,” Mayor Yepsen said. “It’s a lifestyle because you are 24-7 and I’m working 10 to 14 hours a day because that’s what this city requires. We are now a 21st-century important city.”

A new proposal up for a vote in the November election is part of the city’s reformed charter would increase the mayor’s salary by 175.9 percent. Voters we spoke with are mixed about the potential raise.

“There’s too much in the administration dollar wise and salaries what they used to be it’s gone way out of sight right now. I think if she wants the job she ought to accept what the salary is,” Joe Hilko said.

“Yeah give her a raise she’s got a whole city to run. So give her what she needs and if she’s comfortable she’ll get the job done,” Skyler Klander said.

“175 percent depends on how much she’s actually making. If she’s making a million a year then no. If she’s making $600, $800 or a $1,000 a week then of course,” Thomas Mason said.

What do the candidates think?

Republican Mark Baker released this statement:

“Not an honest or credible proposal. It’s one that lacks financial discipline…the lone proposal would also add two new paid commissioners to the city council, a new six figure salary city manager and a city auditor. Adding more appointed bureaucrats to city hall payroll is irresponsible and costly to taxpayers.”

Democrat Candidate Meg Kelly released this statement:

“Charter change would not be in effect until 2020 budget. The current $14,500 compensation for full time work when the average New York State mayor’s salary is $50,000.”

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