Las Cruces City Hall (Photo: Courtesy)
LAS CRUCES – The Las Cruces City Council is asking business owners and employees to chime in on the city’s minimum wage at a Sept. 22 work session. The announcement comes a day after Mayor Ken Miyagishima suggested a temporary decrease in the minimum wage for tipped employees citywide.
The work session is scheduled to be held Tuesday, Sept. 22 from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. via Zoom video chat. The first 20 people from the business owner community who sign up will be allowed into the video conference to give their thoughts on the city’s minimum wage.
Interested owners should contact Annette Granado by phone at 575-541-2076 or email her at [email protected] The work session will be televised on Comcast cable channel 20, and online at clctv.com and on YouTube at YouTube.com/clctv20.
Employees will be able voice thoughts at a work session immediately following employers, Assistant City Manager Barbara DeLeon said. The session will last from 10:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. No more information was immediately available.
On Jan. 1, the city’s minimum wage will rise from $10.25 to $10.50 an hour due to state law. The city has an ordinance mandating yearly increases in the minimum wage associated with the cost of living. The state’s hike this year turned out larger than what the cost of living dictated, so it supersedes the city.
By state law, minimum wage statewide will reach $12 by 2023. The city can always go higher than that.
Because the city and state have different wage-setting rules, the city council was presented with two options at its Sept. 14 work session. It could either continue to use its own ordinance and adopt the higher of the state or city minimum wage each year, or it could repeal the local ordinance and rely on the state’s rules.
Miyagishima suggested the city temporarily drop the minimum wage for tipped workers in Las Cruces down to the state level to help business owners who have been hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposal would drop the city’s 2021 tipped wage from $4.20 an hour in Las Cruces to $2.55 and could last at least six months. Any tips a worker receives is also theirs.
While tipped workers would still be guaranteed to make $10.50 an hour under state law regardless, several city councilors strongly disagreed with the mayor’s proposal.
Tipped workers could end up bringing home less pay if the proposal were to be approved.
The city has until Oct. 15 to legally advertise the new year’s minimum wage.
Michael McDevitt can be reached at 575-202-3205, [email protected] or @MikeMcDTweets on Twitter.
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