LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- Las Cruces City Councilors heard from a handful of business owners on Tuesday, getting their take on a potential minimum wage increase.
Mayor Ken Miyagishima said that how the minimum wage proposal moves forward will depend on the feedback that he and the council members receive from the public.
“We would want to make sure that everyone gets a piece of the pie," the mayor said during the meeting.
Currently, Las Cruces’ minimum wage is $10.25 an hour, with the minimum wage for tipped employees at $4.10 an hour, plus tips.
On Jan. 1, the city’s proposed minimum wage could increase to $10.40 an hour, and $4.40 an hour for tipped employees at a time when the city’s dining scene is in danger.
During the special work session, owners and restaurant servers chimed in to the City Council.
“We are on a serious crisis threshold that has so many of these smaller stores, these little restaurants struggling to stay open," said long-time restaurant and business owner Marci Dickerson.
However, one reason why the issue has not come to a final vote yet before the council is because not everyone is on board.
“Any additional expense like a wage increase is such an added challenge and that is hard for businesses to overcome at this point," said Amy Miller, general manager of the Courtyard by Marriott in Las Cruces.
The city of Las Cruces has about 3 weeks to make a final decision.
By Oct. 15 the city must legally advertise what their chosen minimum wage policy will be as of Jan. 1, 2021.
And in an effort to provide some financial relief to local businesses, Miyagishima also proposed decreasing the minimum wage for tipped workers for at least six months.
That proposal would drop the city's 2021 tipped wage from $4.20 an hour in Las Cruces to $2.55.