DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Durham city council members voted 6-1 Monday evening to give themselves a $10,000 raise.
Their yearly salary will go from $25,378 to $35,200. The pay increase will go into effect on Jan 1, 2022.
Durham already pays their city council more than both Fayetteville ($18,312) and Raleigh ($18,563).
Councilmember DeDreana Freeman was the only one to vote against the measure.
Councilman Pierce Freelon made the proposal to increase the pay. He said he often spends more than 40 hours a week just on his duties as a city councilman, and it doesn’t leave a lot of time for his second job as a musician and educator.
When the issue first surfaced late last month, some Durham residents were shocked that city leaders were even considering giving themselves a raise.
“I was like ‘what, you aren’t doing anything,’” Sheryl Smith, a community activist, said. “Our communities and our families are living in fear, but they won’t work with us.”
Smith said she’s dealt with bullets hitting the side of her Franklin Village apartment and her grandchildren are scared to sleep in their beds.
“My babies still sleep on the floor because of the gun violence that we hear sometimes,” Smith said.
She argued city council members are not doing enough to combat the problem.
“Our elected officials who want a $10,000 raise haven’t shown that our tax dollars deserve to get them that,” Smith said. “To them, everything is wonderful in Durham, but to us, we’re living in hell.”
CBS 17 Durham reporter Crystal Price contributed to this report