Board members voted 6-2 to raise their annual salaries from $3,000 to $4,000, after having their wages frozen at the same level for the last six years. Township Supervisor John Nash and Trustee Bob Shay cast the dissenting votes on the 33-percent increase.
The board also voted unanimously to keep the supervisor salary at $15,600, the clerk compensation at $30,000 and treasurer pay at $12,000.
Nash originally suggested a trustee pay raise to $3,500, which would have kept board members at the lowest pay for area townships with similar populations.
Trustee Judith Miljan and Clerk Carolyn Boersma suggested that $4,000 is more in line with the hours board members spend at work sessions, and regular and special meetings.
It is not uncommon for board members to spend four or more hours meeting — not including preparation time, research and site visits.
“I think $4,000 is a fair number,” Miljan said. “I go to city council meetings all the time and their meetings are shorter. I feel given comparables, and the amount of time we spend at work sessions and meetings, $4,000 is not out of line. There’s nothing to justify — it’s fair.”
Trustees in Fruitport Township, which has a population similar to Spring Lake Township, each receive $3,576 annually. Grand Haven Township trustees get paid $3,920 and Allendale Township trustees receive $3,600.
Spring Lake Township trustees received a raise of $600 about six years ago, according to Clerk Carolyn Boersma.
“I don’t think it’s unreasonable to go to $4,000,” she said.
Trustee Bob Shay said he thought the raise was too steep.
“I think a 20- or 30-percent raise in salary is something that’s not going to be palatable to our electors,” he said.
The annual meeting of the electors is scheduled for 6 p.m. March 26 at Spring Lake Township Hall, 106 S. Buchanan St. Residents can approve or deny the salary resolutions or opt to raise the elected officials’ pay.