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Hawkins Discusses Sonora City Issues

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Sonora City Council Member and Mayor Pro Tem Matt Hawkins discussed a few items affecting the city of Sonora, including council pay and “Vision Sonora”.

Hawkins was Thursday’s KVML “Newsmaker of the Day”.

Last Monday evening, the City Council directed staff to investigate the legality of the salary and benefits currently being paid to members of the Council.

State law caps the amount of money councilmembers can receive in a city the size of Sonora at $300 per month. Councilmembers can also be offered city health benefits under state law.

Around 2009, the City Council dropped the salary of the Mayor to $150 and councilmembers to $125. However, a provision was put into the city’s health benefits plan where council members could opt-out and receive a payment of $350 for an individual, or $400 if their spouse is also under the plan. It was stated that one councilmember is currently enrolled in the city’s health plan, and three receive opt-out payments.

The Council voted 5-0 to direct legal counsel to look into the matter of whether the opt-out payment, on top of the salary, violates state law because it is over $300.

During the interview, Hawkins was asked about ‘Vision Sonora’, the long-studied program to help improve the city.

According to Hawkins, the vote to accept the overall plan will take place at the City Council meeting on Monday, December 2nd.

As Mayor Pro Tem, Hawkins was asked when he’ll become Mayor. “If the people re-elect me, I’ll be Sonora’s Mayor beginning in July 2014.”

The “Newsmaker of the Day” is heard every weekday morning on AM 1450 KVML at 6:45, 7:45 and 8:45am.