A Spokane Valley City Council member makes nearly $800 a month - or around $10,000 a year, plus medical and dental benefits - compared to more than $44,100 in Spokane where council members just got a 44 percent pay increase. The job as Valley council member is considered a part time job, and council members put in between 20 and 30 hours a week, many at early morning or evening meetings.
After the Spokane City Council announced substantial raises on Monday, no one on the Spokane Valley City Council complained about their much lower salary, but councilman Dean Grafos said the low salary is keeping some people out of office.
"I feel fortunate that I can serve," Grafos said, adding that he spends between 25 and 30 hours being a councilman. Grafos ran unopposed in the 2015 election. "We may be at a point where the salary becomes a detriment to who can serve. It limits the opportunity for some people."
Councilman Ed Pace said he's been searching for someone to run for his seat, but he's being turned down left and right.
"People can't run because they have other obligations; I don't know how Ben Wick did it other than he's a very intelligent man," Pace said. He agrees that many simply won't be able to take time off from their full-time job and still pay their bills on a council salary.
But Pace hesitates to call for a pay raise.
"You don't want people to run because of the money," Pace said. "It shouldn't be a career. It should be all of us taking our turn."