Bertie County Commissioners propose raise for employees; first responders not included

Bertie County Commissioners propose raise for employees; first responders not included
Published: Jun. 5, 2023 at 7:12 PM EDT
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BERTIE COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - Some first responders in Bertie County are concerned their raises aren’t included in this year’s proposed county budget.

Bertie County commissioners are considering it Monday night.

The Chair, Ronald Wesson, says county employees haven’t gotten a raise since 2008. So, why now?

“Because we had to prioritize employees who are at the lowest end of the spectrum,” Wesson said.

First responders, like those at the Sheriff’s Office and EMT’s make the most right now.

According to Wesson they would not be a part of the group getting a raise this time around because they got one in 2019.

“The sheriff’s office and EMT have had raises,” Wesson said. “So we thought it was best to bring those employees to at least $11 an hour and deal with the compression above them and all folks who are not included in that are also getting a $500 bonus.”

Bertie County Sheriff Tyrone Ruffin says the 2019 raise the Sheriff’s Office received had its pro’s and con’s.

“In 2019 they did bring the sheriff’s office salary to a competitive salary with surrounding counties, but they did freeze several of the sheriff’s office positions to make that happen,” Ruffin said.

Whatever the outcome is, Wesson says the point of the proposed raises is to keep people in Bertie County.

“We have the largest declining population in the state of North Carolina in the last census. So our tax base declines. So we need to make sure we can do all we can and make the right decisions about the funds that are available to us,” Wesson said.

Wesson says they have $24-million in the budget this year. Their board of commissioners meeting starts at 6 p.m. Monday in the county courthouse.

They hope to finalize the budget at their June 20-th Board of commissioners meeting.