Apopka leaders to decide on new mayor's salary

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APOPKA, Fla. —

Apopka city leaders are just days away from deciding what their new mayor's salary should be.

The city's last mayor, 93-year-old John Land, was being paid a $157,000 salary until he stopped accepting it during the recession.

Apopka is home to 44,000 people. Similar-sized cities like Ocoee and Winter Garden have part-time mayors who earn $4,000 and $12,000 a year.

But new full-time Mayor Joe Kilsheimer could end up with a much higher salary when officials consider the issue at a meeting on Wednesday.

Land's salary grew as he remained mayor of Apopka for 60 years. While he used to run the city, Land later hired a chief administrative officer, and Channel 9 discovered that person is earning $195,000.

On top of that salary, Kilsheimer told WFTV it wouldn't be unreasonable for his salary to be the same as what Land received.

"Do you think it's fair for the mayor of Apopka to be making more than the mayor of Orange County?" reporter Lori Brown asked.

"The salary ought to be tied to the position, and the position has a lot of duties that are unique to the city of Apopka," Kilsheimer said.

In comparison, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs earns $154,000 to service a county of 1.2 million people, and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer takes home a $170,000 salary for a city of 250,000 people. In other words, each person in Orange County pays 13 cents towards Jacobs' salary, and people in Orlando pay 68 cents each towards Dyer's salary. But the $157,000 salary in Apopka would mean each person contributes $3.57 to the mayor's yearly pay.

Apopka city commissioner Bill Arrowsmith thinks the amount would be too high.

"That is way over the top. We talk about being good stewards of tax dollars; that would be terrible for something like that to even be recommended," Arrowsmith said.

Kilsheimer's salary will be discussed and voted on during Wednesday's commission meeting.