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Housing authority employees to receive raises in 2015

Rowan County Housing Authority employees will receive a bit more money in each paycheck, starting in January.

The housing authority’s board on Thursday unanimously approved a 4 percent raise for all employees. The raise equals a combined $25,068.22. The raises will be paid through extra money received by the housing authority — about $39,000 — in previous years for being designated as a high performer.

The housing authority board considered giving both a 2 percent and 4 percent raise. Board member Karla Costantino recommended the larger amount, bringing up cost of living as a primary reason.

“Two percent is not even covering the cost of living increase,” Costantino said. “At this point, we have been high performers, we have operated very lean and tend to always have a surplus. I would have a lot of heartburn giving a 2 percent raise, knowing that that’s not even covering the cost of living.”

The increase would take effect starting in January for the housing authority’s 15 employees.

It’s the second-straight year Rowan County Housing Authority employees have received a raise. In 2013, employees received a 2 percent raise.

In 2012, the housing authority gave raises for five staff members. The limited 2012 raises were granted based on a new salary schedule that increased all starting salaries significantly — 20 percent.

“Anybody that was below the 20 percent was given an increase that year,” Potts said.

In other news from the meeting:

• The board discussed a recently passed resolution by the Rowan County Commission that would designate one seat for a resident of Kannapolis and another for East Spencer. The East Spencer seat is held by Kenneth Fox.

Part of the discussion centered around the reasoning that the housing board wanted representation for Kannapolis.

“The reason we’ve always suggested we have someone from Kannapolis is because Kannapolis, the whole city, took us as their housing authority,” said housing board member Eric Beaver. “It wasn’t necessarily because we had housing units in Kannapolis, it was because we were their housing authority. I don’t think [the commissioners] understand this. I wish they would have consulted us.”

Beaver said the main focus of the housing authority is section eight housing rather than simply where public housing units are located. The housing authority’s public housing units equal about 200, while the number of section eight housing units that the housing authority is responsible for numbers nearly 700.

“I have nothing against East Spencer, but now what do the other municipalities say,” Beaver said. “What about China Grove, Landis and everybody else?”

• As a part of the status report, housing authority executive director Sarah Potts also updated the board on the installation of 117 heating and air conditioning units.

The housing authority purchased 117 units at a total cost of $129,118.

It will cost $825 to install the air conditioning units.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246

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