Salary Review Committee recommends raises for Kent Council members

Kent’s city leaders are considering raises so that some of them can continue to qualify for Ohio Public Employees Retirement System benefits.

In 2020, the minimum OPERS members must earn each month to qualify for full service credit increased from $660 a month to $673, said OPERS spokesperson Kristen Dohrmann. OPERS members making less than the minimum amount qualify for partial service credit.

Kent’s Salary Review Committee is recommending council increase the mayor’s monthly salary from $675 to $958 in 2022, with incremental increases to $1,045 in 2029. 

The city’s three at-large council members would see monthly raises from $641 now to $875 in 2022, with yearly adjustments until they are earning $954 a month in 2029. Kent’s six ward council members, who earn $516 now, will see $641 a month in 2022, with annual increases to $954 a month in 2029.

Council members cannot vote on pay raises that affect them during their current terms. Since the city’s at-large council members and mayor face uncontested elections in November, they would see their pay increase in 2022. Ward council members’ salaries would go up in 2024.

Though some council members have expressed concern over how salary increases will play in the public eye, committee member Benjamin Tipton said $875 a month is about what Aurora’s council members earn and is less than what their colleagues in surrounding communities earn.

Council members serve for love of their city, but there must be some financial incentive, Council Member Jack Amrhein told the committee in July.

Council will review the recommendations in preparation for its September council meeting.