Belmont invests in a city minimum wage


Justin Som

The proposal for a minimum wage in Belmont was introduced during the city’s 2017 priority session in February.

Justin Som, Staff Writer

California already has the third highest minimum wage in the nation, but the Belmont City Council isn’t content with that.

To counter the high living costs of the Bay Area, the City Council has drafted their own proposal for Belmont: a minimum wage. The goal is straightforward, according to Belmont Mayor Charles Stone — they hope to have instituted a minimum wage of $15 per hour before 2023. The City Council hopes to reach this landmark before the state of California does.

“We first came up with the idea at the annual priority session,” said Stone. “Belmont has one of the highest living costs in the state. People who earn minimum wage [in Belmont] have it much worse than in other areas. The minimum wage here shouldn’t be the same as in Bakersfield or other cities.”

Belmont wouldn’t be the first city to introduce a minimum wage in California. According to a report by the Belmont City Manager, Greg Scoles, the cities of San Francisco, San Jose, and Los Angeles were the first to create their own minimum wage ordinances. Within San Mateo County, San Mateo is the only city to have done so thus far.

However, there are concerns with Belmont’s idea for a minimum wage ordinance. Small businesses who already pay employees at the minimum wage, may be incapable of meeting higher standards.

We want to hear from all businesses and the community. We want to make sure that all voices are heard.”

— Mayor Charles Stone

To counter this fear, the city “looks forward to a deliberate process where the Belmont City Council can hear businesses,” said Stone. “We want to hear from the community about their opinions, and we want to make sure that voices are heard.”

Once Belmont begins its minimum wage policy, the rise from $10.50 per hour to $15 per hour will be gradual. Depending on the size of the business, different times may be needed to become accustomed to the new ordinance.

If you can’t pay $15 per hour to your employees, you need to rethink your business.”

— Rito Arellano

“Personally, I think we should raise the wage to $20 per hour,” said Rito Arellano, the manager of Bushwackers Barber Shop. “If you can’t even pay your employees $15 per hour, then you’re running your business wrong.”

In addition, many student workers believe that these changes need to be carried out more rapidly.

“I definitely think that a new minimum wage should be input,” said Ryan Leung, a senior who works in Belmont. “Students need money to purchase necessities because some parents don’t give their children any. However, I feel like this change should be immediate so that more people can feel the benefits in a shorter time.”

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