BY STACIE LETT CAIN
The disparity between the starting salary of firefighters at the Statesville Fire Department and their peers at nearby departments does not sit well with some Statesville residents.
“I do not have a family member that is a firefighter nor do I personally know any of the Statesville firefighters,” Statesville resident Jill Schooley told the Statesville City Council during the public comment portion of Monday’s meeting. “I am however a citizen that is concerned about the safety and well-being of our first responders.”
Schooley went on to explain to council that although many other city employees may be important and good at the job they were hired to do, none was as important to city residents as the first responders.
“I know that city managers make $180,000 a year and deputy city managers make $130,000 a year, and they are very good at what they do, but I can live without them,” Schooley said. “I cannot, however, live without our first responders that start out at $30,000 a year. I ask the council to reconsider their decision to do a pay study and make these brave men and women wait until April to see the pay they deserve.”
Because there was nothing on the meeting’s agenda dealing with that particular issue, council members did not respond to Schooley’s comments, and the council took no action on the issue.
In other business, the Council approved rezoning and annexation of land located at James Farm Road submitted by C2C Ventures that would add 19 lots located on 2.4 acres, containing duplex-type townhome units. The units are Phase 3 of the Georgetown Place subdivision. Rezoning went from its current R15, low density residential, to R5, high density, multi-family residential.
Although City Councilman John Staford approved of the annexation, he voted in opposition to the rezoning.
“I don’t like this development continuing like this because I wonder if the city should eliminate all zoning except for R5 Multi-family,” he explained, once again voting against multi-family development
in the city. “People buying here have a false sense of security that they will buy in this area and have
large lots around them and then we pull that out from underneath them.”
Citing opposition to this development by nearby landowners, Staford said he could not vote to approve it.
“We have 66 families living behind this development and dumping out on one street, and I don’t think this is good planning.”
Ultimately the rezoning was approved with Staford, Steve Johnson and C.O. Johnson voting against it.