Raises approved

Published 5:04 pm Wednesday, December 15, 2021

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During its Dec. 8 meeting, the Farmville Town Council approved raising salaries and discussed other improvements for the town.

The Farmville Town Council voted unanimously on Resolution # 2021-12-01 and Resolution # 2021-12-02 to raise the salary for the town’s police department and public works.

Recognizing the current difficulties of hiring qualified applicants, the hiring salary for police officers will now start at $45,011.20. All current employees in the position of police officer making under the new starting total will receive a 17.7% salary increase to their salary. In addition, those earning above will receive a one-time $1,000 bonus. These increases and bonuses will go into effect in Jan. 2022.

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“To be competitive, we’ve had this discussion of other small towns such as South Hill, South Boston and some other areas of our size and how we also compete in our geographic area,” said Town Manager Dr. Scott Davis in the previous work session. “It would not be out of the need or realm for us not to start at $45,000 for a police officer position.”

To do this, the Town Council approved the transfer of up to $85,000 from the general fund contingency to the police department for the salary increases and the use of the 599 Funds for the one-time retention bonus.

The 599 Funds were provided by the state to use for public safety. This year, extra was given for retention, recruitment and training to use by March of 2023.

For Public Works, the Town Council approved to raise the hiring salary for Laborer I to $12.50 per hour with current employees receiving an increase of 6.6%, and Laborer II will start at $14.46 per hour with current employees receiving a 7.3% raise. These increases will also go into effect in Jan. 2022.

With this meeting being in the middle of a budget year, this is the current fix to keep workers at a competitive salary. The council will work to adjust the pay scale in these fields in preparation for the new budget.

“We would then look at the organization as a whole, and we gradually change that wage-price to where we can retain people that we have but also recruit more quality applicants,” said Davis.

Other items included:

Voted to move the elections of the mayor and Council from May to November. The 2021 General Assembly passed Senate Bill 1157 that shifts all municipal elections for city and town council from May to November.

A new water meter will be put into Three Roads Brewing Company. This new meter will accurately track the water used and returned to the sewage system. This will give the business a more accurate reading and pricing on its water consumption.

The Council voted to vacate and convey a public right-of-way in an alley between the 500 and 600 block of South Virginia Street and South Bridge Street. The alleys are now shared equally to each adjoining property. The same was voted for an alley between the 800 block of First Avenue and 800 block of Hill Street.

Two citizens gave input on how the Town of Farmville should use the funds received for the American Rescue Plan. Recommendations included broadband, youth programs, local business needs and a homeless solution program. All suggestions will be taken into consideration as the Council makes a decision in the future on how to use these funds.

During public comments, it was addressed that the water mains need updating. The current waterways are old and cause flooding issues closing down roads. The question was if anyone could look into it.

The Town Council discussed a possible change to how they conduct their committees at the Dec. 1 work session. However, it was decided that a decision will be put on hold until July.

A transfer of funds was approved for wayfinding signs. The Farmville Downton Partnership received a $25,000 grant from the Commonwealth of Virginia for wayfinding signage. Town Council approved the transfer of up to $29,000 from general fund contingency to the non-street maintenance department in the general fund to support this project.