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Some on Durham City Council Sing: 'Money, Money, Money, Money'

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DURHAM — Durham City Council members proposed raising their salaries by nearly 40 percent in the new budget. The mayor pointed out that the council may be out of tune with what Durham needs.

Durham needs police officers, firefighters, 911 dispatchers and emergency medical technicians. However, some council members claim they deserve a raise as well.

The proposed raise will increase the council's salary level from $11,000 to $15,000 per year. The mayor would move from $14,000 to $19,000.

"Very simply we work 24 hours a day," councilwoman Brenda Burnette said. "The first call comes in from someone in your constituency early in the morning and it never stops. We need the support to be here. Most of us have second jobs or are self employed, but we need the support. We just need it."

Burnette is not alone. A majority of the council has expressed support for councilman Ty Cox's pay hike proposal. The mayor said that even if he gets the raise, he will give it to charity.

"I'm not in any way characterizing people as not deserving of the money," Mayor Nick Tennyson said. "That's not how I feel, but with all the demands the city has on it, it does not seem to me to be appropriate."

"It bothers me a lot because they also need street workers, water and sewer workers, both departments are extremely short," resident Jenelle Brown said. "They've been working short of workers for the last year and a half now."

"Along with the work they do outside of serving on the council, I'm sure that they spend many more hours than what's compensated," resident Terry Allred said. "I am actually in strong support of the raise."

This proposal is still in the planning stages, and will not be finalized for several weeks.

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Mark Roberts, Reporter
Edward Wilson, Photographer
Jason Darwin, Web Editor

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