The Daily Tar Heel

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Thursday December 1st

Board of Aldermen discuss wage increase

Carrboro employees earning the lowest permissible hourly pay might see wage increases for the next fiscal year.

The town’s Board of Aldermen motioned staff to look into restructuring the wages of town employees at Tuesday’s meeting.

Carrboro’s salary ranges are below the market rate, a government consulting firm found.

John Anzivino, senior vice president of Springsted Inc., said 28 employees, or 18.42 percent of the town’s workforce are paid less than the firm’s suggested minimum salary requirements.

After researching the town’s working environment, Anzivino said the hourly wage should be $11.78.

Ingrid Schmidt, spokeswoman for Orange County Justice United, an inter-faith nonprofit organization seeking increases in wages, requested the board increase its current living wage floor from $10.12 to $13 per hour.

The current minimum hourly wage was established in 2001 and needs to be increased after inflation, Schmidt said.

Improving low-wage employee salary would cost the town $26,191 annually, Anzivino said.

His proposed raise in salary would increase the town’s payroll 0.5 percent.

But an increase in the entire Carrboro payroll would be more expensive, he said.

The suggested overall salary increase would cost the town $380,785, or 5.5 percent of the total payroll.

For example, the town’s lowest pay grade ranges from $19,000 to $33,000 annually, but the recommended changes would increase that to $24,000 and $37,000, Anzivino said.

Some aldermen would also like to see salary improvements from the private sector.

Alderman Jacquie Gist said she did not want town payroll increases to impact taxpayers if private companies continue to pay employees lower wages.

But whether private sector wages move, Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton said government workers deserve to earn a living wage.

“Police, fire and trash collection are the three most essential functions of town government,” Chilton said.

Town Manager Steve Stewart will give a proposal regarding wage changes May 4, when the aldermen meet to discuss the budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year.

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