Sequim City Council agrees to future salary increases

Positions, not people, funded

SEQUIM — The Sequim City Council has provided raises for positions in the future, beginning in 2022.

Some council positions will receive raises next January, and the rest of the council will see an increase in 2024, according to action taken March 22.

The most recent increase in council pay was 2014.

Deputy Mayor Tom Ferrell said he suggested bringing up the increase “not to enrich myself,” pointing out that “it’ll be two years before I see a nickel of this.

“I realize this small amount of revenue is not an enticement nor should it be an irritant,” he said.

City Attorney Kristina Nelson-Gross said even though five positions are up for election in November, not all automatically receive pay increases.

“(The new rates go into effect) when their terms expire,” she said.

Nelson-Gross added that Washington state’s constitution prohibits elected officials from giving themselves raises.

“Salary is attached to terms and not sitting officials,” she said. “Hopefully that alleviates some concerns from the public.”

Mayor William Armacost receives $410 per month, deputy mayor Ferrell $330 per month and other council members $250 per month.

The increase will raise salaries starting in 2022 for council positions 3, 4 and 5 (currently Mike Pence, Rachel Anderson and Brandon Janisse), and the remainder of seats in 2024 (currently Armacost’s position No. 1, Sarah Kincaid’s No. 2, Keith Larkin’s No. 6 and Ferrell’s No. 7).

Salaries will increase to $565 for mayor, $450 for deputy mayor and $350 for other council members.

Compensation also will be reviewed every four years.

It will allowed for council members to donate some or all of their salary to the city.

Connie Anderson, Sequim’s deputy administrative services director, shared options for comparing Sequim’s council salaries to neighboring cities and others that are similarly sized.

Some council members said they preferred similarly sized cities because neighboring cities may not be comparable in population and revenue.

EDC contract

Sequim council members unanimously agreed March 22 to extend the city’s contract with the Clallam County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) for $20,000 a year through 2023.

Barry Berezowsky, Sequim director of community development, said city staff intended to propose a renewal by the end of 2020 but were unable to “pull the pieces together” in time.

He said the EDC has assisted Sequim and other county agencies with a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and that some previous “deliverables,” included attracting businesses into the Sequim Opportunity Zones by U.S. Highway 101, marketing new businesses and supporting remote work opportunities within the city.

EDC Executive Director Colleen McAleer said the EDC’s annual funding is $355,000 from business memberships and local contracts, and Sequim’s contract makes up 5.6 percent of the EDC’s budget.

Some of the EDC’s work plans would continue to include providing essential information for businesses about COVID-19, marketing the city and providing business retention and expansion services, McAleer said.

Both Ferrell and Larkin said the contract is a bargain while Armacost said the EDC has “been a lifeline for so many businesses during the shutdown with very little help.”

“Kudos to the team,” Armacost said. “They’ve truly helped a huge number of businesses to survive, and now I want to see them move in that category to thrive.”

Janisse said he’s been critical of the EDC in the past, but he feels the work it has done through COVID has been great.

“You couldn’t have changed my mind any more,” he said.

The EDC agreed upon quarterly reports starting April 15.

For more information on the EDC, visit clallam.org.

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Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

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