GREENSBORO, N.C. — Greensboro City Council voted to increase council members pay by 60 percent in Monday’s budget discussion.
The vote was in favor 6-2. Council member Justin Outling and Mayor Nancy Vaughan voted against it.
Council member Marikay Abuzuaiter was not present recovering from arm surgery. However, later told FOX8 she would have voted against it as well.
If the final budget is approved by council next month the changes will go into effect in July.
Council member Tony Wilkins was one of the original council members who brought up the discussion of a potential pay increase.
“There was no reason for Greensboro to be at the bottom of the list in regards to council compensation along with being 41 percent behind Durham. The increased compensation will result in a more crowded council race, in my opinion, which is good for Greensboro,” Wilkins said.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan said that she agree the compensation should be great as the third largest city in the state, however not this soon.
“I do think that the council pay should be brought up to a reasonable level but 60 percent at once, I just think is a little much. We’ve asked our employees to be patient as we bring them in line and I think that we should be patient as well,” Vaughan said. “When you look at the state, we started very low maybe one of the lowest and we are the third largest city but then we went to one of the highest paid. And I just think that sends the wrong message, I also think it would have been good to vote the raises in for the next council instead of voting them in for ourselves.”
Council member Sharon Hightower said the potential raise is still not a reflection of the hours devoted to citizens. Yet any member does not run for office for the money.
“My service is because I want to help the people but it is a conversation that deserves some discussion,” Hightower said.
If council passes the final budget at the next meeting, June 7, the pay increase could cost tax payers $76,000 more each year.