FAIRMONT — The Fairmont Board of Commissioners got a first look at a proposed budget on Tuesday, and it includes a pay increase for town employees.
Town Manager Katrina Tatum’s first draft would give employees a 2.5 percent cost-of-living raise and a one-time $350 stipend.
But Tatum also cautioned against being too generous.
“We need to be conservative and make sure that year after year that you can carry increases because if you don’t we will end up where we were several years ago where staff did not get increases for five years,” Tatum said. “It’s a good thing to give increases. I’m all for it. I’d love for everybody to get it but if you can’t carry it beyond, then you have to start stripping staff and you have to start stripping benefits. We don’t want to get to that point. It will be better to give your staff moderate increases every year than have to strip them of any increases in any year.”
Also on Tuesday, the commissioners heard details of a planned Oct. 20 benefit golf tournament at Fairmont Golf Club. Mark Madden said the tournament is in memory of Sgt. 1st Class Matthew McClintock, who was killed in Afghanistan on Jan. 5, 2016. Proceeds will benefit families of those killed in action.
John “Woody” Woodall addressed commissioners, telling them of his work to build Camp4Heroes, a sanctuary for wounded veterans, firefighters, police officers and first responders. The camp is located on 184 acres on Zimp Road near Fairmont and includes a 10-acre lake. He plans to expand its facilities so veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder will have a place to heal.
In other business:
— Commissioner Charles Kemp said 16 of the 28 job seekers who attended the Two Hawk job fair on April 26 have found a job. He did not have the final figures of the May 10 Mountaire job fair.
— The commissioners reappointed Phostenia McCrimmon and Willie Grissett to the Planning Board, and named Michelle Bethea as a new member.
— The board accepted a donation of land, located near Town Hall on Red Cross Street, from Lumbee River Electric Membership. The vacant lot is slightly more than three-10ths of an acre and has been vacant since the company relocated to Walnut Street. Tatum said the donation will not cause a loss of property tax revenue because it is not on the tax rolls.
— The commissioners unanimously approved a contract with S. Preston Douglas and Associates for up to $12,900 to conduct the town’s audit.
Reach Terri Ferguson Smith at 910-416-5865.