By Michael Praats | June 8, 2021 at 12:52 PM EDT – Updated June 8 at 8:07 PM
NEW HANOVER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) – New Hanover County commissioners on Monday approved a $457 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year. In the budget, there are items like raises for teachers and investments in new multi-use paths, but it also includes significant pay raises for the commissioners.
According to Commissioner Jonathan Barfield, the approximate stipend has been $17,000 for as long as he has been on the board. But after this budget year, that is increasing to $31,000 – meaning commissioners gave themselves an 82 percent raise.
County commissioners are generally considered part-time positions; however, Barfield said because of the amount of work he puts in and interruptions the job has on his full-time job, the pay needed to increase.
“For me, it’s not a part-time position. The amount of hours that I put into working on behalf of citizens is definitely not part-time. It’s part-time pay, but it’s not part-time work,” he said.
While commissioners obviously supported their own increase, there were those who spoke out against it during the Monday night meeting including N.C. House Rep. Ted Davis Jr.
“A real rub in the budget is your proposed salary increase, especially after increases in the value of taxpayers’ property due to revaluation, this is like putting salt on a wound,” Davis said.
And although County Chairwoman Julia Olson-Boseman touted the decrease in the tax rate, the revaluation means that despite the apparent decrease, revenues brought in will actually be higher and it is up to property owners to foot that expense.
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