FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Fresno City Council Members have voted to increase their salaries by 69%. This would increase their current salary from $80,000 to $135,000.

The motion passed 5-2, with councilmembers Garry Bredefeld and Esmeralda Soria being the two who voted against it.

“They are basically taking money off of the taxpayer’s table, out of their pockets, and putting it right in their own pockets,” Bredefeld said.

Councilmembers in favor of the raise cited long hours, a heavy workload, lack of pension and salaries of other city officials as reasons why they should receive this raise.

“Our firefighters are the highest paid in the valley. Our police officers are the highest paid in the valley. Our city manager’s compensation was $475,000. Our former police chief, $347,000. That’s because they get to pull down not just a pension but retire once, twice, three times, and continue to generate money,” said Councilmember Miguel Arias.

If the salary increase is adopted, Fresno city council members will make more than those in San Diego, who oversee a population more than double Fresno’s size.

Bredefeld pointed out the raise is more than the median household income in some of the councilmember’s districts.

“People work hard, they can’t put food on the table, they have to buy gas…and these guys are giving themselves $55,000. These are guys who are out of touch,” Bredefeld said.

The Mayor can veto the motion but if the vote stays 5-2 it will still stand.