If money was a deterrent, running for a seat on the Dumfries Town Council now just became more lucrative.
The Town Council voted on Tuesday to enshrine into town code pay raises for members of the Town Council, and for those who serve on the town’s multiple boards and commissions.
As we reported over the weekend, the seven elected members of the Town Council will see a pay increase in the coming fiscal year starting July 1,
Mayor: $8,000 annually in 2019 to $18,000 as of June 1, 2021.
- 125% increase
Vice Mayor: $7,300 annually in 2019 to $15,000 as of June 1, 2021.
- 105% increase
Councilmembers: $5,216 in 2019 to $15,o00 as of June 1, 2021
- 187% increase
The Town Council approved the raises as part of its fiscal year 2022 budget. Tuesday’s vote — with 5 in favor, Councilman Tyrone Brown absent, and Councilwoman Cydny Neville abstaining — made it permanent.
- In May, Neville asked Town Manager Keith Rogers to prepare a presentation to show the council and town residents how the raises would affect the overall town’s nearly $6 million budget.
- Rogers did not provide a presentation to the council, however, he did say monies would be moved from the town’s administration, community development, and travel budgets to pay for the increase, which amounts to about $65,000 more per year.
While Rogers said the vote would codify the new salary amounts in the town code, viewable online, the old salary amounts are nowhere to be found in the code.
- Additionally, the town in 2019 stopped printing the salary information for town employees in its annual budget and instead wanted to charge us $400 to obtain the information.
- Prince William County Delegate Danica Roem has proposed new legislation to limit or cap the fees municipalities may charge to obtain public information.
Those who serve on the boards and commissions will also get a pay raise, to $100 per meeting. Seven people sit on the town’s Planning Commission, five on the Architectural Review Board, and four on the Board of Zoning Appeals.
Capital improvement plan
Town Manager Rogers briefed the Council on the town’s capital improvement plan, which aims to place a series of street lights, widen sidewalks and improve streets, repair a stormwater management pond, and place a new outhouse at a town park.
The $175,000 neighborhood streetlight program, which aims to put two tall lamps at the entrance of Knolls of Dumfries at Route 1 and Tebbs Lane, and 10 more lights on streets located deeper inside the neighborhood, is in response to “community conversations and research” conducted by the town, said Rogers.
- As we reported last week, Prince William County Government is serving as an intermediary between Dominion Energy and the town government to move the streetlight project forward.
- “Once we have a final timeline from Dominion, we will send a letter to the residents to let them know the timeline of the project,” said Rogers.
- Once the project is approved, construction could take six weeks or less.
- Dumfries Mayor Derrick Wood lives in this neighborhood.
In the nearby Williamstown neighborhood, the town plans to spend $65,000 to widen sidewalks and the width of street medians in the townhome community.
When it comes to new police cars, the town will spend a total of $228,ooo to replace its fleet.
The town also plans a “major renovation” of Ginn Park located on Graham Park Road, to include a new playground and a new eco-friendly outhouse to replace the current port-a-john now at the park.
There’s also $103,000 allocated to repair a stormwater pond in the Knolls of Dumfries neighborhood.
There’s also some talk of adding more streetlights near the pond, in addition to the 12 already slated to be erected in the neighborhood.
The pond would need to be retrofitted first and then the lighting could be added,” town public works director Jonet Prevost-White.
All the projects should be down by the end of next year, said Rogers.
- The project is being funding with cash gained through the restructuring of a deal the town has with a cell phone provider, which has a tower on town property.
“Providing that seed”
Town Mayor Derrick Wood took his regular councilmember time to wish men Happy Father’s Day.
- “Thanks to the fathers who provide the seed to incubates the womb,” said Wood.
- He immediately apologized, saying his words were too graphic for the meeting.
- The rest of the Town Council members took time to recognize the upcoming Juneteenth holiday, recognized in 2020 as a state holiday.