Mayor’s salary reduced in 2020, adult business law proposed

Ocean Shores City Council also approves new agreement with Coastal Interpretive Center

The Ocean Shores City Council started the new year by unanimously approving a measure to lower the mayor’s salary in 2020, and, by a split 4-3 vote, continued to draft a broad adult entertainment ordinance to replace a temporary moratorium banning any bikini barista business within city limits.

Mayor Crystal Dingler currently is paid $48,000 a year, but that salary will be effectively reduced to $12,000, or $1,000 a month under the ordinance proposed by the mayor and adopted by the City Council on Monday. Dingler had recommended the action now that the city is prepared to hire a city administrator to handle many of the duties the mayor has had to assume without an administrator. When she first was elected, Dingler was paid the lower salary for the first two years, but the City Council then increased her compensation while she continued to fill so many administrative duties to cut costs.

The mayor’s salary cannot be lowered during a term of office, but it may be raised, which is how the City Council set the salary after Dingler was re-elected in 2015 and the administrative position was not budgeted at that time.

The new salary would begin on Jan. 1. 2020 or when the new mayor takes the oath of office. Dingler said the city has received 11 applications for the administrator position, with the deadline this Thursday.

Council discussion on the new adult entertainment proposal was centered on whether there currently is an issue — with no known pending applications or proposals for adult businesses — and on how much time and effort it would take to draft such a legal ordinance beyond the bikini barista moratorium, which expires in March.

“Do we want to do a whole ordinance on adult entertainment and really comprehensively go through these things or do we want to do just this one piece?” Dingler asked. Council members Jon Martin, Steve Ensley and Jeff Daniel voted against further action, with Bob Peterson, Eric Noble, Lisa Griebel and Susan Conniry voting to draft a broader ordinance.

“I think we are creating laws and liabilities for the city for a problem that does note exist,” Ensley said in opposing the broader ordinance and supporting an end to the moratorium.

Peterson, however, countered that the “folks in this town really don’t want adult book stores, they don’t want strip clubs, they don’t want bikini baristas in town. This is a family town . . . We need to get ahead of this thing, deal with it and make it difficult for those kind of businesses to move in.”

In other action, the Council approved a new agreement with the Coastal Interpretive Center that paves the way for the city’s $45,000 contribution to the center’s effort to hire a full-time executive director.