Huntersville Town Board Salaries an Upcoming Issue

A discussion has been brewing among Town Board members and at our meeting on February 18th (6:30 p.m.), you may have the opportunity to hear the passion on the issue of salaries for elected officials.

I am a firm believer in public service. I have been an elected official for nearly 14 of my 20 years in Huntersville. I have been proud to be part of the many, often-crucial decisions as Huntersville has been one of the fastest growing communities in the country.

I do believe that many elected officials in our country are way overpaid. In some communities across the country, board members have thought of themselves before thinking of their fellow citizens, and awarded themselves salary packages, with benefits, that bordered on scandalous.

We don’t want only financially independent people to run for office — and to some extent, we already have that happening in Washington, D.C.  In the most recent election for the House of Representatives, conservative estimates showed that to merely RUN for the office would take at least $2 million. And that was merely to run!

To give you an example of the current salary ranges in communities similar to Huntersville’s population, I asked the NC League of Municipalities to give me a breakdown. Here’s what they provided:

Municipality Population

Council

Mayor

Hickory

40,086

$        10,116

 $        14,612

Kannapolis

43,141

$          8,544

 $        12,972

Huntersville

48,463

$          5,000

 $        10,500

Wilson

49,119

$          5,400

 $        11,400

Burlington

50,587

$          8,428

 $        12,627

Rocky Mount

57,275

$          7,440

 $        14,000

Chapel Hill

57,757

$        13,405

 $        22,435

Huntersville, which has had the most growth over the past 20 years, is at the bottom, and does not include benefits, as do some boards.

Some elected officials believe it is fair to take the average of these amounts to come up with a foundation for Huntersville’s board salaries. Some others believe that Huntersville is not “average” and should be set on it’s own merits. Some others believe that public service means service to the community and salary shouldn’t be an issue.

Public service — and the desire to do more for a community — can come at a personal expense. Our Board members contribute to local charities as part of their Board position, pay for their own gas, parking fees and car maintenance, benefits, coffee meetings and lunches (often requested) and spend time away from their jobs and their families…at less than HALF of the rate of a full-time minimum wage worker.  To me, that indicates that our current salary structure is inadequate.

If we don’t put a value to our public servants, then I am afraid the only people who will run will be those who are financially independent and therefore, not wholly representative of the general population. We need to encourage more people toward public service, not continue to give them reasons not to serve.

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Author: jillswain

Former Mayor Chamber of Commerce Exec. Director Advertising consultant Mom and spouse (30 years and counting!) Rec league girls' volleyball coach Champion of all things Huntersville, North Carolina

3 thoughts on “Huntersville Town Board Salaries an Upcoming Issue”

  1. Jill,
    You’ve stated the realities of where we are…. and where we should be… very succinctly and well. Some of our Board members are financially independent… and others are not.. But all perform a service that is well worth the modest average (of other towns) being proposed

    I can’t believe that these amounts would attract lazy, bored citizens interested in it for the money… the amounts are modest by any standard. I hope the Board will follow your lead and set up a system for maintaining parity with other towns of our size.

    Mike Harvey

  2. Good morning Jill,
    Are we still having monthly meetings. I have not received any emails from you all in quite some time.
    If you can let me know when the next one is that would be great.
    Thanks,

    [cid:image001.jpg@01CE0DA8.1E8347F0]

    1. Cris,
      I am sorry! We still do have the meetings, and I’ll doublecheck to see if there is some problem with the email listed. The next meeting is actually tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. at Foster’s Frame and Design on 115. If you ever have any questions about the meeting times, it’s also on the FB page!

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