GIBSON — Gibson town employees will see an a little extra in their paycheck starting July 1 after the town approved a two percent cost of living increase in next year’s budget.
The tax rate remains at .68 cents per $100 of valuation, budget does raise water, sewer and sanitation rates each by $4 a month.
The 2016-2017 budget was approved with a 3-1 vote, with Commissioner Lula Cottingham opposed to the raise for town employees. Commissioner Ken Haney was not at the meeting.
“You got to think about it, this town has this one convenience store, no police and yet these salaries have increased every year,” Cottingham said. “We ought to save some money so we can get a policeman. We have these break-ins right in the daytime.”
Mayor Ronnie Hudson said there was no relation between the break-in and the pay increases.
“Well at two percent a year at five years that’s 10 percent, so if a man is making $10 an hour he now makes $11 an hour. If that will get you a policeman and get you a new store, go for it. Two percent ain’t nothing,” he said.
Hudson added that many would quit without the increase.
But Cottingham said Gibson workers are making the same as other area municipal employees without having to do the same amount of work.
The mayor also disagreed with that statement.
“What do they do in Laurinburg that they don’t here? You tell me what the town employees do that they don’t. Nothing,” Hudson said. “You’re living in 2016, not 1950.”
Resident Frank Pallares pointed out to the commissioners that the cost of living index for this year across the nation was zero.
But Hudson remain firm in his support for the pay increase. He said town workers are cutting grass in 100-degree weather for $10 an hour and he believed that the COLA was fair.
Commissioner Stephen Hudson agreed with the mayor as did Commissioner Mack Wilkins who voted for the budget with the increase included.
“I think the only way you are going to keep good help is to give them pay raises from time to time. I feel like two percent a year is not asking a whole lot,” Stephen Hudson said.
The 2016-2017 budget is $231,200. That includes $15,292.66 for the governing body; $14,265. 84; fire department; $169,681.50; $26,460 and $1500 for the cemetery.
Real property taxes are estimated to be $90,000.
Minimum rates for water will be $24.85; sewer $10.35 and sanitation $13.80.
Reach Maria D. Grandy at 910-506-3171.