CHRISTIANSBURG — The Montgomery County Board of Supervisors is considering a pay raise for its members from $11,000 to $14,000 annually.

That amount was agreed upon during a discussion this past Monday, when supervisors asked to place a resolution for the proposed raise on the agenda of their first June meeting.

The raise has to be voted on before July 1 and would go into effect Jan. 1, 2020.

The chairman and vice chairwoman, who each receive salary supplements for assuming those responsibilities, would earn $16,000 and $15,400 a year with the proposed raise, respectively.

Supervisors began discussing the possibility of a raise a few weeks ago due to several reasons, including the fact that the board hasn’t approved a pay bump for itself in 14 years. While supervisors stressed that they don’t serve for the money, they said that their responsibilities have significantly grown over the years — and that some reasonable compensation is deserved.

“I don’t see our county getting any smaller, and I don’t see the chair or vice chair obligations getting any less,” Supervisor Chris Tuck said.

In addition to the bi-monthly supervisors meetings, Tuck as chairman was required to attend more than 50 other meetings a year, he said.

Supervisors have two options for enacting raises: Vote on a one-time dollar amount or approve a percentage increase of up to a maximum of 5%.

This week’s proposed raise falls under the one-time dollar amount option, and is a compromise based on various pay bumps that Deputy County Administrator Carol Edmonds presented to supervisors.

Edmonds presented supervisors with potential raises of either $2,617, $3,672 or $3,813.

The figures Edmonds presented relied on several factors such as salary scale adjustment county staff received over the past 14 years, an upcoming 3.5% pay increase for county employees and the federally calculated consumer price index.

The consumer price index — or CPI — is a measure used to calculate changes in the cost of living.

Board Vice Chairwoman April DeMotts, who initiated the raise talks a few weeks ago, first proposed a set amount of $2,400 — the same as the school board approved for itself earlier this year.

“Is that reasonable or unreasonable?” DeMotts asked other supervisors on Monday.

Supervisor Sara Bohn, however, described using the school board as a reference as an “apples to oranges” comparison. She said the school board — which currently earns a base salary of $4,800 a year — makes less than the board of supervisors. Therefore, she said, the $2,400 raise is a bigger pay bump for the school board than it is for supervisors.

Supervisors eventually settled on raising their base salary by $3,000 and upping the current pay of the chairman and vice chairwoman by $3,200.

A resolution on the raise will be prepared by staff and will most likely be added to the June 10 supervisors meeting for a vote, county spokeswoman Jennifer Harris said.

The two options for enacting supervisor raises carry slightly different conditions.

Under the one-time dollar amount — what supervisors are proposing to do this year — the raise needs to be approved before the end of the fiscal year that ends on June 30. That raise would go into effect next year.

Additionally, the one-time dollar amount option can only be voted on during election years, such as 2019.

On the other hand, the board can vote on the percentage option any year. Those raises, however, are not automatic and require supervisors to vote on their salaries annually.

A percentage raise would also need to be approved by June 30, but would kick in on July 1.

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Yann Ranaivo covers local government and politics in the New River Valley, including Christiansburg, Blacksburg, Radford and Montgomery County.

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