CRESTVIEW — The addition of a city manager is in one of the three questions to appear on the primary election ballot. The city of Crestview has approximately $300,000 allocated in next year’s budget proposal for the tentative city manager’s office, according to city officials.
"This would not be just for salary but all aspects of establishing a new position," city clerk Elizabeth Roy said in an email.
The money budgeted for the city manager's office would go back into the general fund if citizens vote against the amendment, council president J.B. Whitten said.
According to Whitten, the number in the budget proposal is higher than the anticipated costs.
Although this will be an additional cost, Whitten said he thinks it's a good investment for the city because the position could potentially pay for itself.
"I would never sit here and guarantee somebody that if we pay someone $100,000 that it will save the city $100,000. I think it will, but I can't guarantee that," Whitten said.
The city manager would be a full-time position and would receive benefits that part-time employees like the mayor and council members don't receive, Whitten said.
“Typically, a city manager for a city our size is going to cost north of $100,000, which right now, we don’t even pay that for the mayor. We have a part-time council and part-time mayor,” he said.
For comparison, Destin and Fort Walton Beach pay their city managers over $120,000. Both cities are smaller than Crestview.
Qualifications would also affect the city manager’s salary, Whitten said.
“If you hire someone that’s got a master’s degree and 20 years experience as a city manager in a large city, then you would pay that individual more than someone that just came out of public administration school and no experience,” Whitten said.
This charter is the city council’s second effort to replace the current mayor-council government with a council-manager government.
Primary election day is Aug. 28. Early voting begins Aug. 18.