Drakes Branch council member says its time for a raise

Published 12:23 am Thursday, October 5, 2023

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One Drakes Branch Town Council member says it’s time for a raise. While that may be so, Town Mayor Phillip Jackson says it can not happen yet.

It was during the August council meeting that member James K. Gregory brought it to the council’s attention a possible 5% raise for council members. After doing some research, “there is nothing that stops them from getting a raise.”

According to Jackson, the council currently receives $ 20 for regular monthly meetings and $10 for a called or special meeting. 

The last pay raise was over twenty years ago.

Jackson said raises for council members had been discussed before, and according to the statute, the council cannot give themselves a raise while they are in office. Still, it could be budgeted and approved in 2025 for those elected to take office in January 2026. 

According to Jackson, the town’s attorney confirmed the interpretation of the law that states, “No increase in the salary of a member shall take effect until July 1 after the next regularly scheduled general election of council members”. Every proposed increase in the salary of a council member shall be adopted at least four months before the date of the next municipal election. (code of Virginia 15.2-1414.6)

Drakes Branch does not stagger its council elections.

“The reason for public service should be in the pride and the desire to make your community a better place to live,” Jackson said. “But if $20 or $30 will attract more participants in the local government or town council, then so be it.”