It can be expensive to run for office. Besides the optional ballot statement candidates will shell out more than $1,000 for this year, a single mailing to every voter in the city can $10,000.


Once elected, though, elected officials receive a variety of benefits and perks.


City council


Members of the Hesperia City Council receive $300 per month. But there's more: City council members are also automatically members of the city's fire and water boards, which have meetings at the end of city council meetings, for an additional $100 and $75 per meeting, respectively.


City council candidates who attend Victor Valley Wastewater Reclamation Authority meetings receive $100 per meeting (up to six a year). They also receive $100 per Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District meeting and each San Bernardino Associated Governments meeting. City council members also receive $100 per SANBAG policy and San Bernardino County Transportation Authority meeting attended.


City council members also receive a $300 automobile allowance each month. Mileage incurred as a representative to the MDAQMD is compensated at a rate of 32 cents per mile. SANBAG travel expenses are compensated at a rate of 40.5 cents per mile.


City council members also can get up to $1,800 in approved expenses reimbursed each year. Special training and education expenses are also covered out of a separate budget.


City council members also receive health insurance benefits while serving.


School board


Hesperia Unified School District school board members receive a stipend of $486 per month. They also receive between $12,324 and $16,689 in benefits, depending on the plan, including life insurance, health and dental insurance and eye care. Board members are also compensated for mileage they incur on the job and up to $4,000 annually for "continuing education" expenses. Other travel expenses in certain categories -- like the Masters in Governance program put on by the California School Boards Association and lobbying efforts -- are also covered.


School board members who have served for 12 or more years qualify to receive health care benefits through age 65, even if they leave the board before reaching that age.


Although some constituents may raise their eyebrows at the board members' compensation, board member Chris Bentley, who originally said he wouldn't take the stipend, changed his tune after the expenses began to roll in -- specifically an April 2009 $700 cell phone bill, as opposed to his previous $66 monthly cell phone expense.


"To me, the stipend covers my gas, cell phone, the expenses I [incur] as a board member," he said. "If this amounted to a hill of beans in our $138 million [budget], I'd give it up in a second."


Park board


Hesperia Recreation and Park District directors receive $100 per monthly meeting, but also receive $100 per committee meeting or special meeting they attend, up to $500 per month.


"They do not receive cell phone [money]," said the park district's administrative operations manager Rachel Thomas. "If they drive to a meeting, they get the IRS compensation per mile," which rose to 50 cents as of January 1. "Say we send them down [to a meeting] ... they would be reimbursed for a mileage or, say, a meal."


Park board members also receive medical, dental and vision insurance while in office.


"Depending on if they're single or if they have a family," Thomas said. "It runs anywhere between $800 to $1,000 month," the same plan as park district employees.


And park boards also get another perk, one not shared by city council or school board members:


"I do give them candy on their desk every board meeting, out of my own pocket," Thomas laughed.


Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 760-956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.