At Tuesday's meeting, Cheraw Town Council members voted unanimously to increase the department's starting salary, starting immediately. The decision was made more than two months after Fire Chief John L. Melton III requested the town make its fire department salaries more competitive with others in the state.
Melton had asked the town for a raise of over $6,000 for engineers starting out, but the town's Personnel Committee recommended council bump the wages up about $1,500.
"The average salary for firefighters in the Municipal Association Survey was $21,874 and $24,515 for engineers," Personnel Committee Chairman Frances Benton said. "After a good bit of debate the Personnel Committee recommends that the starting salary for firefighters, even though these men are functioning as engineers, be increased by $1,574 to $21,874."
The recommendation came with the agreement that Melton work on developing an overall salary and incentive plan for his department and the town seek a personnel consultant who can perform a review of the town's overall classification/compensation plan. The consultant would make recommendations for adjustments to be considered prior to the 2004-2005 budget.
In other business, Cheraw received a $200,000 check from the S.C. Department of Transportation.
The town learned last month that they would be awarded a SCDOT grant for the fourth year in a row. The money will be used to make improvements to the Cheraw Town Green.
"I think it's wonderful what (the town of Cheraw) is doing with this money, and also what you have done with the money we've given you in the past," SCDOT Commissioner Mack Bayles said.
Cheraw is the only town in the state that has been awarded SCDOT grants four years in a row.
Council also approved a contract for work on the Cheraw Town Green, approved a resolution awarding a contract for crack sealing improvements at the Cheraw Municipal Airport, heard a presentation on the development of a storm water master plan and approved the first reading of a $410,000 bond ordinance that would allow for the purchase of property at the Carolina's Centre Industrial Park.
Cheraw Town Administrator Bill Taylor explained that the towns of Chesterfield and Cheraw each had to take out a $410,000 general obligation bond to allow them to pay for land at the park.
Taylor said the options on the properties would run out at the end of November and must be paid for before that time or the costs would go up.
Taylor informed council that other than the bond it is about to take out, the town is not indebted to any other bonds.