It’s budget time for counties all across the east and in Pitt County, commissioners held their first of several workshops to decide where to spend close to $10 million in new request.
This year commissioners are seeing a 3.29% budget increase with a total budget of $222,769,246.
County Manager Scott Elliott made his presentation to commissioners Tuesday morning, he is not proposing any tax increases and says he is focusing on investing in human capital.
Goals for this year includes reinstating performance pay, certification increases, holiday pay for public safety employees and making an investment in the employee health insurance fund.
“It’s been four years since we’ve had any pay for performance or merit pays, so it’s very important that we get that back in the budget,” Elliott said.
Performance pay increases range from 1.2%-2.4%.
On Monday, Sheriff Neil Elks proposed increases for his deputies, 12 more positions at the detention center and $252,000 in overtime.
“Our officers do a great job and they’re very dedicated to what they do, but often time they’re failed to be recognized and I think we need to get compensated according to the market in Greenville,” Elks said.
With the up tick in the economy, Elks pled for immediate action. He says the latest they can wait for additional positions is next January. In the jail a whole block is sitting empty because there isn’t enough staff to fill it.
“I have 98 beds that right now could be occupied and that block is closed because of no funding for the man power.”
To Elks surprise, commissioners were supportive of his proposal.
“If it means getting more money through an increase in taxes to pay these people what they’re worth, I’m for raising taxes,” Commissioner Tom Coulson said.
Coulson said he’s always supported an increase for deputies and thinks now is the right time. Other suggestions included funding for increased courthouse security and body cameras for deputies to carry.
“I don’t know how we’re going to do it and I’m not for raising taxes but I think we need the cameras and the up to date attention for this department,” Commissioner Mary Perkins-Williams said.
On Thursday the Board of Education and Pitt Community College will make their presentations to the Board of Commissioners.