Council wraps up budget

By: By Katelin Gandee - Staff reporter
Katelin Gandee | Laurinburg Exchange City Council met for the last budget meeting before the public hearing and vote on the plan on June 19.
Katelin Gandee | Laurinburg Exchange City Council met for the last budget meeting before the public hearing and vote on the plan on June 19.

LAURINBURG — The Laurinburg City Council has selected a pay plan for municipal employees that it hopes will be fair and competitive with other cities and towns.

Council considered the classification and compensation plan during a budget workshop this week. The proposed $36.1 million budget keeps the tax rate at 40 cents per $100 of valuation. The city utility rate will also remain the same next year.

The plan is based on years of service in a position and those who would get less than a two-percent increase would have a one-time bonus to make the option fair across the board.

Council members said it has tried to deal with the issue of compression — differences in pay regardless of experience, skills, level, or seniority — for years.

“The same issue has been talked about every year …” said Councilwoman Mary Jo Adams. “This looks since you’ve added this bonus for those who weren’t getting much or anything… it seems like it makes it fair all the way around.”

The plan will cost the city $438,184.92.

“You’re in a lot better position than not doing anything because it gets everybody where they should be by June 5, 2018,” said City Manager Charles Nichols.”Cost of living increases… we will have to keep up each year.”

In other business, council said it would to budget money for a 22-foot-tall Christmas tree for the group ‘Tis the Season, which is planning to create a winter wonderland event in downtown Laurinburg.

The tree will be installed at the Art Garden prior to the start of the holiday season and ‘Tis the Season will decorate it.

The group also requested money for 50 small Christmas trees.

Councilman Curtis Leak said he was against giving the nonprofit money because the city rarely provides that kind of funding.

Leak suggested — and council agreed — that the city put $7,000 in its Community Development budget and that the group work with Michael Mandeville, community development director.

Council also agreed to give $15,000 to the Laurinburg/Scotland County Area Chamber of Commerce for its programming, including assistance with Christmas on Main; arts education; and planning for Spring Arts Fest.

That allocation would also include an extra $1,000 to move Laurinburg After Five to downtown next year.

The council also voted to consider moving its health insurance to Dunbar Insurance in Laurinburg if the broker could match what the city is being offered by Blue Cross Blue Shield.

The cost for the insurance is $1,107,625.00

A public hearing on the budget will be held on June 19 in the City Council Chambers at 7 p.m. The budget plan needs to be approved by July 1.

Katelin Gandee | Laurinburg Exchange City Council met for the last budget meeting before the public hearing and vote on the plan on June 19.
https://www.laurinburgexchange.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_Council2.jpgKatelin Gandee | Laurinburg Exchange City Council met for the last budget meeting before the public hearing and vote on the plan on June 19.

Katelin Gandee | Laurinburg Exchange City Council met for the last budget meeting before the public hearing and vote on the plan on June 19.
https://www.laurinburgexchange.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/web1_Council1.jpgKatelin Gandee | Laurinburg Exchange City Council met for the last budget meeting before the public hearing and vote on the plan on June 19.

By Katelin Gandee

Staff reporter

Reach Katelin Gandee at 910-506-3171

Reach Katelin Gandee at 910-506-3171