With benefits, Mr. Rojas' total compensation package is estimated to be $256,400, according to a city staff report.
Among his benefits are $8,160 a year in a deferred compensation plan, and $2,000 a month for up to eight months to help the new city manager move to Northern California.
Also, he is eligible for a home loan from the city of up to $1.1 million at a 5 percent interest rate if he resides within city limits.
Council members unanimously approved a three-year contract with Mr. Rojas at their June 27 meeting, ending the city's six-month search for a new city manager.
Mr. Rojas, 56, has been the city manager of Chino for 10 years, and is set to take Menlo Park's top post Aug. 2.
The announcement that Mr. Rojas would make $204,000 a year — a 25 percent increase over the $163,233 a year former manager David Boesch was making, and just slightly less than Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's $212,000 annual salary — raised some eyebrows in the community, but council members said the pay is justified.
"It's fair compensation given his level of experience," said Mayor Kelly Fergusson. She noted that Mr. Rojas currently makes the same amount as city manager of Chino, a town in Southern California of 76,000 residents — about twice that of Menlo Park.
Councilman Heyward Robinson said Mr. Boesch, before leaving Menlo Park to become assistant manager of San Mateo County, was paid "significantly below" the average pay level for Bay Area city managers, and the city should offer compensation competitive with other cities.
City Attorney Bill McClure said Mr. Rojas' salary is "right in the ballpark" as far as what other city managers are paid, and noted that past councils delayed salary increases for Mr. Boesch due to budget cuts.