09/24/13 — City approves raise for employees

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City approves raise for employees

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on September 24, 2013 1:46 PM

City employees will receive at least a 2 percent raise this year as part of a pay and classification study aimed at ensuring Goldsboro is competitive in its salaries when compared to competition in the public and private sector.

The City Council discussed the study and future plans for Streetscape among other things at a continued meeting Monday.

The study, which was completed through the Mercer Group, recommended bringing each city employee to the new minimum for their job classification and to also give each a 2 percent raise as well.

If more than 2 percent of an employee's salary is needed to raise them to the minimum, they will not receive the additional raise.

The total cost of bringing all of the employees to the minimum and implementing the raise would be $528,613.81, about a 50-50 split in cost between the two.

"I just want to make sure we can afford this. The economy still has me gun-shy because it only takes one little thing to go sour and we're back in the hole," Councilman Gene Aycock said.

Aycock said he wanted to make sure the city could afford this for the next five to 10 years and not just for the time being.

City Manager Scott Stevens assured him the city had room in the budget for the increase.

Councilman Bill Broadaway made a motion to accept the findings of the study, which was seconded by Councilman Charles Williams Sr.

Councilmen William Goodman and Michael Headen were absent for the vote, which passed unanimously.

In other business, Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. Director Julie Metz spoke to the council about which projects would be funded through the $10 million U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER 2013 grant.

She said the new GATEWAY transfer facility, Center Street Streetscape, connecting Streetscape on Walnut Street and site work on Goldsboro Union Station would be included in the grant, leaving Union Station to be completed later.

Ms. Metz said the projects had to be under contract by Sept. 14, 2014, and that the city's approximately $3 million match needed to be in place to pair with the funding to bid out the projects, the first of which would be the next three blocks of Center Street Streetscape in November or December.

Aycock wondered why Wayne County was not involved in paying for the transfer facility as the county is a part of the GATEWAY system.

"If it's a joint operation, it should be a joint operation," Aycock said.

Ms. Metz said GATEWAY is interested in storing vans in the south parking lot of Union Station once the site work is completed, to which Aycock responded, "If we share, we share. If not, we start charging them rent."

Assistant City Manager Randy Guthrie asked Council for $150,000 for design of the next block of Streetscape, a comparable price to the first two blocks, but the price tag left a sour taste in the mouth of a City Council that has already paid the same cost twice previously.

"Why are we gonna pay $150,000 to say we're gonna design it the same way?" Aycock said.

Williams said the design should be the same all the way down the street.

Guthrie said it is more difficult to retrofit a project than build new and that there are certain considerations that are unique to each stage of the project such as sewage in the third block.

"Hold your nose," Broadaway said and approval was given.

Talk then turned to the number of traffic circles proposed for the project to replace the lighted intersections along Center Street at Mulberry, Walnut and Chestnut streets.

Council decided three traffic circles with mountable curbs would fit the needs of the public. Guthrie said the costs were comparable.

The circles could feature public art, landscaping or a fountain feature.

Council decided to continue with angled parking on the median side on the subsequent block of Center Street as opposed to parallel parking with a wider median seen in front of city hall.

Councilman Chuck Allen said he has repeatedly heard that people prefer angled parking to parallel parking.

Broadaway agreed saying it would keep traffic moving better to stay with angled parking.

Talk then turned to a proposed fountain at Walnut Street to go in the middle of a future traffic circle.

Allen wanted to see elements of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base incorporated into the design of the fountain and agreed the time to do it would be in the original construction and not later after the circles are in place.

"I say design it now," Broadaway said.

Talk shifted from maintaining a strip of the original brick sidewalk next to the buildings on Center Street and then pouring new concrete sidewalks extending to the street to flip flopping the option to have a band of concrete next to the buildings with new brick extending to the road.

The change came after it was found that the original brick was embedded in concrete and not sand as the city had hoped making the job much more labor-intensive, driving up the cost.

"There would be about 2,000 linear feet of brick work to cut and then we would have to clean the bricks up to re-use them and it would be hard to keep it straight and looking good," Guthrie said.

Allen's main concern was not keeping merchants from their business and saw a concrete banner along the buildings as a way to maintain access while also making an easier time of walking for pedestrians.