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leland300.jpg Submitted by Asha Dave on Tue, 11/08/2011 - 8:38am.

LELAND, NC (WWAY) -- Voters in Leland will go to the polls tomorrow to elect a new mayor and two new members of town council. When those three people take office, the town's elected leaders will be getting a significant pay raise. Our news partners at the Local News Review uncovered something interesting about Leland's budget. The money Town Council spends on itself this budget year is up 71-percent from the last fiscal year. Back in March, Councilwoman Pat Batleman sent an e-mail to Mayor Walter Futch and her fellow council members proposing a raise in compensation. "Based on the research done on comparable compensation in municipalities both smaller and the same size as the population of Leland, I would like to propose we consider an increase," Batleman wrote in the e-mail. We called Batleman to ask some questions about the increase, but she refused to comment on camera. She did say, however, that she and Councilwoman Martha Currie would not receive the increase as it is only applicable to members voted in in 2011 or later. But Town Manager Bill Farris told us differently. "Whenever there's a new council, then they will all receive the same salary," Farris said. Council members agreed to an increase and submitted a budget with a 92-percent increase from last year. In July they approved a 71-percent jump for the council budget up from $56,700 to $97,005. Previously, the town paid the mayor $200 a month while council members received $150. Now, likely-Mayor Brenda Bozeman will make $758 a month, while council members will get $520. Farris said the job of a council member is time-consuming because of their involvement in the community and various workshops and boards. "Being a council member at this point in Leland's life is somewhat more complicated maybe than it was several years ago," Farris said. Mayor Futch nor council members Herbert Barnes or Currie returned our phone calls. Bozeman was busy with personal matters, but said she'd have to take a closer look at the budget before commenting. You can get more details on the budget hikes and how they came to be in next week's edition of the Local News Review.

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