Much of this additional cost is to pay the bloated salary and benefits for each new Council member. The remainder is the cost of staffing each new office.

The Office of Audits and Investigations issued a fiscal analysis stating, without any substantiation, that the fiscal impact will be $1,144,112 for FY 2020, and $830,989 in the first fiscal year (FY 2019). As expensive as this sounds, it will grow substantially. The lower figure for FY 2019 is the result of the new seats not being effective until part way into the fiscal year. The County Council has tried to pass off this major cost increase as inconsequential, referring to it as “at most “less than one-tenth of one-percent,” (significantly less than a percentage point) of the County’s General Fund.”

The cost likely will escalate, but the rate of increase will depend on the 2018-2022 salary structure that the current Council sets for the next Council. Council salaries are set every four years, just before the next election. The Council creates a Compensation Review Board (composed of hand-picked County insiders) (see Box, right), that proposes a set of salary and benefit increases desired by the Council. In this way, Council salaries have increased from $70,000 in 2003 to $120,347 in 2018 (plus benefits).

See here for the bill that the Council passed in 2014 to set their salaries for 2015-2018 based on the Compensation Review Board proposal by hand-picked insiders. See here and here for back-up documents.

It’s easy for the Council members to be cavalier about the increased cost . . . when it’s only taxpayer money they are spending.