Could increasing council, mayor compensation boost diversity of Vail Town Council?

Council will consider whether it wants to increase pay rates for the first time since 2007 at its first June meeting

Vail Town Council is considering increasing its council compensation for the first time since 2007. Mayor pay has also remained unchanged since 1998.
Kris Widlak/Vail Daily archive

Vail Town Council is considering increasing council member compensation for the first time in 16 years. It would also be the first time that the town has increased the mayor’s pay since 1998.

Currently, council members receive $635 a month for their service and the mayor receives $1,000 a month. Additionally, council members are also eligible for the town’s health insurance at employee rates and receive a fitness/ski pass as well as a parking pass.

The idea of increasing these rates came up during the council’s review of its employee compensation late last year. Following a review and study of its compensation plan, the Town Council began implementing a $2.8 million plan to support salary increases that get the town to the 75th percentile compared with other towns and cities.

At the time, Council member Barry Davis suggested that the town also review its council compensation as a way to possibly increase the diversity on the board.

“A person suggested to me that if we were to look at compensation for running for council — obviously this would only affect future councils, not us — but that it might allow someone who has to have a second job or has other requirements to participate in local government,” Davis said at the Nov. 15 meeting.

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“I think that if altering the compensation of council allows us to open up one of these seats potentially to a more diverse audience, it’s definitely worth discussing and exploring,” he added.

Any adjustments made to council compensation would only take effect at the beginning of new mayor and council member terms. Currently, the seats held by Mayor Kim Langmaid as well as Council members Kevin Foley, Jen Mason and Jonathan Staufer will be up for election this November.

At its Tuesday, June 6 meeting, the council will discuss making possible changes as well as compare their current rates with other communities in Colorado. Among 19 comparable communities across both the Front Range and Western Slope, the average council member compensation was found to be around $1,032 a month and $1,494 for mayors.

Within this survey — conducted by town staff — the salaries range from $400 (in Mountain Village) on the low end to $2,700 on the high end (Aspen). For mayors, these reached from $800 on the low end to $3,325 on the high end in the same communities.

This comparison only includes one other municipality in Eagle County, which is the town of Avon. In 2022, Avon’s Town Council voted to increase its council compensation for the first time since 1996. This increased council compensation from $500 a month to $600 a month, and mayor pay from $1,000 a month to $1,200 a month.

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In a memo outlining possibilities for the Vail Town Council to increase compensation, it highlights that in order to keep with the town’s overall compensation strategy of hitting pay ranges between the 65th and 75th percentile of the market, council compensation would be between $1,150 to $1,200 a month and from $1,600 to $1,700 a month for the mayor.

In addition to evaluating possible rates, Town Council may also contemplate incorporating a recurring or more frequent review of this compensation in any future ordinance it would consider.

This, according to the memo, is something that other communities have done — including Aspen, Arvada, Steamboat Springs and others — either reviewing on a schedule or implementing an automatic escalation. The automatic escalation could be based on factors such as consumer price index, area median income or employer pay range change.

Still, any increase can only be approved for newly elected or reelected members at each election cycle for each individual.

Council will discuss the pay and strategy behind compensation for council members at its Tuesday, June 6 afternoon meeting. The meeting is scheduled to start at 2:40 p.m. at Vail Town Hall (75 South Frontage Road West, Vail). Meetings can be attended in person or virtually. For more information on how to attend or provide public comment, visit

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