Arrow-right Camera

Washington Voices

Pay increases for mayor, council proposed

Pederson says higher stipends would help draw future leaders

At Monday’s City Council meeting, Airway Heights Mayor Matthew Pederson proposed an increase in compensation for future mayors and council members, calling a boost in pay long overdue.

Each council member currently earns about $300 a month and the mayor receives roughly $500 a month, according to City Manager Albert Tripp.

“We all take a lot of pride in our jobs and it’s this pride that allows us to operate with the small stipend that we have,” Pederson said. “But to be realistic, we all have full-time jobs, and those other jobs often take back seats to our activities here on council.”

Pederson planned a hearing for public discussion during the regularly scheduled council meeting May 4. He also said he’d have a committee examine the issue and would like to put it on the agenda for council action before the next round of elections in June.

“I’m very proud of the hard work of this group and I believe that in order to recruit future leaders it is necessary to provide just compensation,” he said.

In other city news, residents are being asked to help name two new parks which will be developed this spring and summer.

Following an agreement last fall with the City Council, Viking Construction of Hayden, Idaho, is breaking ground this week on a one-acre mini-park next to the intersection of Horton Street and Fourth Avenue. This park is associated with the Traditions housing development.

Scott Krajack, land development director of Viking Construction, said the park will be open to the public in about 2 1/2 months.

The second park will be developed on a two-acre plot of land in the Sunset Crossing subdivision, just east of the Traditions project. On Monday, the City Council gave its approval to solicit bids for Phase I of this project, which could total $50,000.

Both parks will feature playgrounds, paved walking paths and open grass areas bounded by shade trees.

J.C. Kennedy, parks and recreation services director, said he’ll collect name suggestions from citizens over the course of the spring and summer and then the Park Advisory Board will make a recommendation by passing a resolution. After that, it’s up to the City Council for final approval.

Certain qualifications should be considered when proposing a name, said Kennedy, including an exceptional or historical figure in the community, geographic location or outstanding feature of the park. Facilities within a park can be named on their own as well. Complete guidelines are listed on the city’s Web site and official suggestion forms are available at City Hall or the community center.