William Shakespeare once penned some sage word for public servants:
"That sir which serves and seeks for gain, and follows but for form, will pack when it begins to rain, and leave thee in the storm."But The Bard likely never had to pay the baby-sitter while debating zoning ordinances.
And that's just one reason Pheobe Blackham wants to dole out more money to members of the Alpine City Council and Planning Commission.
"When I cash my check, I put it in an envelope and I take money out when I need to pay my sitters," she said. The outgoing councilwoman often finds the cache empty after four weeks of attending to city business.
"It's a token of appreciation is mainly what it is," Blackham said. "It certainly isn't enough to say we're being paid to do the job."
Proponents of paying public servants a small stipend say it attracts more people to participating in local government.
Elected officials in such small, rural towns often are charged with overseeing the city's operations with a handful of employees in addition to working a full-time job and raising a family.
Members on Alpine's governing panel receive $130 for attending meetings, serving on various city and county committees, responding to residents' concerns and corresponding with the city's administrator, who runs the day-to-day operations.
Planning Commission members, who must know the difference between an R-4 and R-2 area of the city, aren't compensated for their work.
Blackham hopes to raise the council's salary $25 a month and give planning commissioners $30 per meeting attended. Public hearings on the proposal are scheduled for upcoming council meetings.
However, the city's budget was amended last week to include the extra $4,500 it would cost for the raises. Administrator John Newman said the council can still decide not to increase salaries and allocate the money elsewhere.
Mayor Don Watkins said he does not want to increase his $500 monthly salary. His duties as the top elected officer have been reduced since Newman was hired a few years ago as the city's part-time administrator.
Highland leaders also are discussing drafting a policy requiring council members and planning commissioners to receive a monthly check to cover expenses and to somehow make up for time spent in the city's notoriously long meetings over water systems and gravel pits.
No elected official in Highland receives money for his service. Newman said changes are in the works, however.
"They don't pay their Planning Commission or City Council or mayor anything yet," he said. "There has been some discussion about that."