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Cape Coral voters won't decide future salaries of council members in November

The City Council considered four proposals for a ballot referendum on salaries for the council and Mayor.
Cape Coral
Posted at 9:22 PM, Apr 24, 2024

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Cape Coral voters will not be deciding the future salaries of Cape Coral City Council members and the Mayor after discussions about a ballot referendum stalled on Wednesday.

The pay for elected city leaders has been one of the hottest debate topics in town since the council approved stipends of $40,000 a year for members and $60,000 a year for the Mayor last December.

Council members argued the city’s current pay scale is archaic considering the explosive growth in the city.

During a Committee of the Whole meeting on Wednesday, Council members discussed four possible proposals that voters could choose come November.

One of the proposals tied council salaries directly to the city’s population.

“As far as the proposals go, I really can’t support any of them in totality,” said Council member Bill Steinke.

“We’re no better now than we were,” said Council member Keith Long.

While a consensus couldn’t be reached, there was debate about whether or not to continue discussions in future meetings.

But Council member Tom Hayden says without a clear agreement, there’s no reason to keep discussing the issue.

He calls any talk of a ballot measure this November effectively dead.

“I just don’t think (the proposal) was ready yet. I would hate to see us put in a position to rush something so meaningful for the ballot,” said Hayden, who is not running for re-election this year.

Mayor John Gunther, who joined the meeting remotely, said he doesn’t believe there should be any discussions of a ballot measure until 2026.