ST. PAULS — The St. Pauls Board of Commissioners approved on Thursday a policy that increases the starting salary for police officers.
The new minimum starting salary of $35,341 matches the average pay range for police officers in similar-sized North Carolina towns, according to town officials. Acquiring college degrees and special certifications will increase the annual pay for veteran St. Pauls officers.
A motivation for the change is retaining experienced officers.
“I’ve got two officers going out at a time each night,” Town Manager J.R. Steigerwald said. “I need one of them to be more experienced.”
The policy also makes pay raises effective on the officers’ hiring date anniversary. In the past the effective date was on a three- or six-month anniversary date.
“We have several openings in the police department, and we’re trying to get experienced officers and keep them,” Steigerwald said. “The pay is an incentive.”
Commissioners Jerry Quick and Evans Jackson raised concerns about the water level in the Black Creek aquifer, which is used heavily by Sanderson Farms and Mountaire Farms.
There are no limits on water for farmers, Public Works Supervisor Danny Holloman.
“We’re very aware of the water being drawn down,” Commissioner Deborah Inman said.
Property owner Tom Keith came to Thursday’s Board of Commissioners meeting in response to requests to repair or demolish his building on Second Street.
“I’m disappointed in things not being done,” Keith said. “I feel that I’ve done my part, but I haven’t been able to lease these buildings. I’m reluctant to spend money and get no return.”
Mayor Gerard Weindel said, “If you fix them up, they will sell. All of mine are rented. If you can’t afford it, someone will. The roof has been open for years. Clean it up, there are options.”
“We will help you,” Commissioner Jackson said. “You need a face-lift on that building.”
The board members took no official action related to the property.
In other business, the council members:
— Approved the city’s state-mandated water shortage plan. The state requires that towns every five years write a plan to address water shortages and to provide solutions.
— Were told by Police Chief Tommy Hagens that all his officers now carry Narcan, a drug used in the emergency treatment of people suffering from opioid overdose.
Reach David at 910-416-5182 or [email protected]