Cumberland County’s budget includes an increase in employee pay across the board to stay competitive in the region.
Mayor Allen Foster said a six percent raise is included and certified sheriff’s deputy pay is up to $39,000. Foster said residents deserve a county willing to compete for the best candidates in all positions.
“We’re like everywhere else, we’ve lost employees too but we definitely wanted to reward those that have been here and have a good incentive,” Foster said. “We’ve got good benefits, we wanted to make sure we can get good employees and keep good employees.”
Foster said there was nearly a $10,000 difference in pay between the county and Crossville in law enforcement starting pay. Foster said the pay increases stemmed from a salary study that suggested the time had come to make changes to be competitive.
He said this was able to be done without raising property taxes from the rate of $1.5653
“We’ve kept our focus on first responders, our county commission is right there, they believe in first responders,” Foster said. “We’re replacing patrol cars, three new ambulances. We’ve got these LUCAS devices, these vests that do compression and decompression for people in the ambulance while they’re being transported and they’re life savers. Once these are purchased we’ll have them on every ambulance we have. We were able to buy a new fire truck and those are extremely expensive.”
Foster said that growth in the county is leading to higher revenue projections for the future. He said the move into the county from Whisper Aero and Buc-ee’s are strong signs for the future.
“Buc-ee’s is just a huge draw for sales tax,” Foster said. “For people off the interstate to come in and gas and really, more retail than you expect. So there’s a lot of things going on right now that helps our sales tax and our revenues.”
Foster said there is also a stipend to be included for critical care paramedics that have licensure. He said another focus of his in this year’s budget is continued improvements toward the county courthouse.