April 20 hearing set for consideration of supervisor pay raises

Published 2:18 pm Thursday, April 6, 2023

In two weeks, Isle of Wight residents will have a chance to weigh in on whether their county supervisors get a raise.

A public hearing is scheduled April 20 on a proposed ordinance that would increase supervisor salaries 8.9% to $12,800. Supervisor Dick Grice had proposed the idea in February.

A 1998 state law set a maximum $7,000 salary for supervisors of counties with 25,000 to 49,999 residents, but allowed raises of up to 5% per year to account for inflation.

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Isle of Wight County, which had an estimated population of 39,278 as of 2021, according to census data, adopted an ordinance in 2008 raising the minimum 5% to $11,402.26.

County Attorney Bobby Jones, in February, said the salary was raised again at some point during the past 15 years by roughly 3% to the current $11,744. Since the proposed 8.9% raise would exceed the 5% allowed under the 1998 law, supervisors would need to use an alternate process outlined in a different state law that was last revised in 2022, Jones said.

Rather than build the raise into the county’s budget and have it take effect July 1 at the start of the next fiscal year, the process mandates that supervisors hold a public hearing and vote prior to July 1, with the raises, if approved, then taking effect Jan. 1 following a year where at least two board of supervisors seats, or 40% of its membership, are up for election.

Three of Isle of Wight’s five seats are up for election this year, meaning the proposed raises, if approved, would take effect at the start of 2024.

Grice’s seat is among the three available, though he says he plans not to run for reelection, and therefore wouldn’t be in office come January and receive the raise himself.

Under the 2008 ordinance, the board’s chairman and vice chairman receive an additional $1,800 and $1,200, respectively. Were this provision to remain, the chairman would receive $14,600 and the vice chairman, $14,000.