ANTIOCH -- After looking this week at raising its minimum wage above the state and federal levels, the city passed on the idea.
Though there was no consensus among City Council members, a majority indicated it would be a detriment to local businesses and not worth pursuing. Instead, most preferred to follow the state's wage schedule, which bumped up to $9 in July. It will go to $10 per hour on Jan. 1, 2016.
"At this time, I would like to go along with what the state is doing. There will be more increases in minimum wage," Mayor Wade Harper said. "I am more interested in local hiring for Antioch residents. I would hate to discourage new businesses from coming."
Antioch real estate agent Mark Jordan brought up the idea last winter, suggesting the city look at being more progressive.
"It's about fairness. It's about how you want to approach the people who serve meals, clean houses and do all the beginning jobs that we all take for granted," Jordan said.
Before setting its own minimum wage, a city needs to consider if it has a significantly higher cost of living and what local impacts it could have, City Manager Steve Duran said.
In giving a recommendation against moving forward, Duran said it would put Antioch at a "competitive disadvantage" with businesses in neighboring cities.
It would also cost Antioch more money to pay part-time and temporary workers, such as lifeguards, and create issues with its next level of workers, he said.
"In my view, there's not a lot of upside," Duran said.
Realtor Lori Ogorchock and Sean Wright, CEO of the Antioch Chamber of Commerce, argued against the idea.
"We have had several business already raise their prices to make ends meet," Wright said. "If we decide to take it on to Antioch specific, we will be shutting the doors on several other businesses. If we add this to the reasons not to do a business in Antioch, we will not be business-friendly."
Councilwoman Monica Wilson said she had too many questions on what a minimum-wage increase would mean, including slowing down the city's efforts to restore a 40-hour work week for employees.
Cities throughout the Bay Area are debating raising the floor for hourly pay.
Before saying he'd like to find out more information about it, Councilman Tony Tiscareno pointed out that Richmond passed an increase in June, but it was "watered-down" from what was first considered.
Richmond became the first city in Contra Costa County to create its own minimum wage, phasing in the hike over several years, up to $13 in 2018. It included two exemptions opposed by labor leaders: businesses that pay fewer than 800 hours of employee wages over a two-week period, and businesses that make over half of their income outside Richmond will pay a wage halfway between the city's minimum wage and the state minimum wage.
Oakland voters will consider a ballot measure in November to raise the minimum wage to $12.25 an hour.
Staff writer Robert Rogers contributed to this story. Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.