CONNIE SWINNEY • PICAYUNE STAFF
BURNET — City Council members unanimously passed a 13 percent, $15,000 per year raise for the city manager to keep the position’s pay competitive and to reflect the work of the city’s steward.Starting Oct. 1, David Vaughn’s salary will increase from $113,000 per year to $128,000 per year plus benefits.
“In today’s world, there’s not very many big raises being thrown around, but by the same token, you don’t want to lose some talent, not that it’s necessarily a risk,” Mayor Gary Wideman said. “Over the past few years, we have not really done a whole lot with the salaries in that position.”
Vaughn went to work for the City of Burnet in June 2000 in the public works department. He became assistant city manager and eventually was promoted to city manager in April 2011.
“We just felt it was time to sit down and look at his whole body of work he’s done, plus comparing it to other communities in our area based on salary, population and budget to try to get that position to a more competitive level,” Wideman said. “We understand that$15,000 worth of raise is a lot of money, but when we looked at everything that he does, with the LCRA, the water coalitions, the things we’ve been able to do with the YMCA, the fire department, his work ethic, and his contribution to the overall success of the city, he has been tremendous and it’s well worth every penny.”
Along with Vaughn, city employees received an across-the-board raise, based on the Consumer Price Index, which amounted to about 2 percent.
Officials say the stability of budget finances hastened the ability to offer the increases.
“We are so financially healthy,” Wideman said “We have not raised taxes in at least five years since I’ve been mayor.”
Other steps to strengthen the budget in the past couple of years include doubling the city’s net revenue at the end of each year, increasing the city’s contingency funds, and paying off longer term debt, he said.
When considering Vaughn’s salary increase, City Council members compared Burnet to nine other cities, including Bee Cave, Buda, Fredericksburg, Granite Shoals, Lampasas, Llano and Marble Falls.
Council members used Bee Cave and Fredericksburg as the primary considerations.
While Burnet’s budget is approximately $26 million, Bee Cave’s city budget is $8 million.
The Bee Cave city manager makes $144,000 per year, plus benefits. In Fredericksburg, with a budget of $38 million, the city manager salary is $146,000 per year.
“It’s not a competition. It’s not about impressing anybody,” Wideman said. “We just want to make sure the salary is commensurate with the amount of work he puts in.”