ARLINGTON — Elected officials here are set to get a raise next month.
The city’s salary review commission recently made its decision on compensation for the mayor and seven council members. The commission was formed in January 2015 to set salary and reimbursement amounts for Arlington’s city leaders. The five-person volunteer board is independent of the City Council and its decisions are binding.
The mayor’s paycheck has not changed since 2000, according to the city. The commission was tasked with deciding on realistic pay for city leaders that would attract people to the job. The group must decide on the part-time mayor’s monthly salary and the per-meeting pay for council members. The commission takes up that work in May of odd-numbered years. It is set to meet again in 2019.
The mayor’s salary is increasing from $1,500 per month to $2,250 starting June 1, a 50 percent increase. The mayor also is set to get reimbursements of $125 for regional meetings and $100 for non-regional meetings starting in 2018, up from $75 and $50, respectively. The mayor will be able to collect for up to 25 meetings per year.
Regional meetings include gatherings in Olympia to address legislative issues or meetings with groups such as the Puget Sound Regional Council, Economic Alliance Snohomish County or Association of Washington Cities.
City Council members also are getting an increase in pay. They’ll receive $200 per council meeting for up to four meetings, or $800 per month. That’s an increase of 33 percent, from $150 per meeting. The amounts council members get for regional or non-regional meetings — $75 and $50 — are not expected to change, though by 2019 they will be able to collect for up to 12 meetings per year rather than eight.
In considering salaries and reimbursements, the commission looked at how much similar cities in Western Washington pay their leaders, what the scope of work is for an elected official in Arlington, and where the money would be most beneficial. According to meeting minutes, they wanted to encourage local leaders to be involved in regional meetings, which can lead to grants and other state or federal support for city projects.
The salaries of mayors in nearby cities vary, including in some of the cities Arlington commissioners reviewed during their research.
Lake Stevens formed a salary commission in 2014. The mayor there is paid $2,000 per month, and council members make $500 per month plus $75 per meeting. In Monroe, which also has an independent commission, the mayor makes $3,600 per month. Snohomish voters recently decided to change their city’s form of government from council-manager to strong mayor, and the mayor’s salary was set at $1,500 per month.
Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org.