KINSTON, Lenoir County — In the back of Monday's Kinston City Council meeting was the faces of those who help keep the power in the city running.
They are a small number that keeps declining as many are finding work elsewhere for more money and more benefits. Some find jobs in the same line of work for more than $20,000, in some cases.
The pay raises will start immediately and officials said the increase in pay will not result in a change in electrical rates or taxes for residents in the city.
"When you are talking about a 22 to 25 thousand dollar increase, I would tell my son to go," said council member Joseph Tyson.
That's why the city is now trying to compete with other areas. On Monday, the members voted unanimously in favor of raises for their power linemen.
"We felt the need to increase some salaries and we are going to make this thing work to maintain our employees and move forward," Mayor Don Hardy said. "We are excited to be able to do it as a council. We do believe in our employees. We appreciate everything that they do and especially our lineman who keep the power hot for us."
Hardy hopes that increase in pay will keep the workers in Kinston and also encourage others to join the industry.
"Hopefully we can do some cross training and pull some people from the inter city and other departments be interested in training to be a line man move at the ground level and work their way up," Hardy said.