PEMBROKE — Mayor Milton Hunt on Tuesday proposed a 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment for all Pembroke employees.
“They’ve gotten nothing in the last three years,” Hunt said of the town’s 44 employees.
Hunt referenced a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics cited last week by Lumberton City Manager Wayne Horne that said inflation has been 2.9 percent in the past year.
Councilman Allen Dial said the town should consider a scheduled pay rate.
“You’ve got people coming here six months ago that’s making more than people that came 12 months ago,” Dial said. He asked Hunt if the town’s budget was prepared to handle such an increase.
“A raise would cost a considerable amount of money, but you’ve got to do something,” Hunt said. “You can’t sit here. Everybody around us is probably going to do it this year.”
Interim Town Manager Marie Moore said that the adjustment is already included in the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. A final cost of the adjustment was not immediately available.
The council at its June 4 meeting will set a date for a public hearing on the budget.
Also on Tuesday, the council authorized Moore and Rhonda Locklear, supervisor of wastewater treatment plants, to contact specialists to review a corrective action plan for removing contamination from the site of the Kangaroo gas station on West Third Street, which was destroyed by an electrical fire in November.
According to Locklear, contamination in the groundwater and soil was found around the underground gasoline storage tanks at the gas station. Consultants for Kangaroo have proposed a plan to remove the contamination, but Locklear said the town should have a consultant look over the plan.
“You’re asking a third party to review the plan on behalf of the town because we’re not licensed geologists,” she said. “… We want another consulting firm to protect our interests and the community’s interests.”
Locklear said that consultants for Kangaroo have asked the town for feedback by May 31 so that it can submit the plan to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for its approval.
Money to remove the contamination will come from an underground storage tank trust fund, and from permit fees paid by entities with underground storage tanks, Locklear said.