In an effort to curb the impact of a higher-than-normal debt, Knightdale has decided to put a hold on some employees’ pay increases.
Next year’s buget will not allow certain employees to receive merit or cost of living pay raises. If an employee wants a salary increase, they will have to move to higher paying position.
In an effort to keep up with increased debt, the town will do away with salary increases except for ‘longevity pay,’ for employees who have worked with the town for more than five years.
The town will also still give increases to employees who complete probationary periods. In Knightdale, employees are eligible for a 5 percent increase once they complete the initial probation period.
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Of Knightdale’s 68 employees, 25 will not be eligible for raises. They are out of their probationary period, but have been with the town for less than five years.
Seven employees are in their probationary period and 36 are eligible for longevity pay.
Finance Director Jimmy Overton said the town’s debt has increased from 10 percent of the town’s total budget to 12 percent and will stay at the higher percentage until 2017.
Of the town’s $11 million budget, their debt service will require $1,320,000.
The town has debt from other projects, but Knightdale Station Park contributed to the increase.
The first phase of the park, which included the Ashley Wilder Dog Park, playground and multi-use athletic fields, cost $2.5 million. The second phase of the park, which will include a new location for the town’s Farmer’s Market, tennis courts and other amenities, has a $3 million budget.
Some of the smaller projects, like a water tower, have been paid for by grants.
In addition to extra debt taken on to pay for the new park, the town also plans to bring on two new employees for the upcoming fiscal year.
There is money set aside for another athletic supervisor in the Parks and Rec department and another maintenance worker in the Public Works department.
“The total number of acres we have (to care for) almost doubled because of the park,” Overton said of the decision to bring on another public works employee.
According to Overton, eligible town employees did get pay increases in January.