Elon Town Council voted to add a 5% pay raise for all town employees. With multiple vacancies across the staff, including town planner, parks and recreation director and multiple positions within the police department, Elon Mayor Emily Sharpe said she hopes this will help attract and retain employees. 

“The goal is to attract and retain top talent. We have excellent staff people that we want to keep, but we also have jobs that are open that we need to fill,” Sharpe said.

During the town council meeting Jan. 22, in a 3-2 vote, the council voted to increase pay for all town employees. The vote came after discussion on how to increase pay of staff employees, with either a flat rate or a percentage increase based on salary. 

Sharpe said this raise is a temporary solution and the council plans to further increase wages following the results of a town-wide, equitable pay survey.

“5%, in my opinion, is a baby step because once we get the pay study, there’s going to be people who are probably going to need even more than double than that,” Sharpe said during the meeting. “And there’s going to be people who maybe don’t even need the five, according to pay study.” 

Sharpe also said there are other cultural benefits to working in the town of Elon.

“We have an employee who left, who is coming back into a lesser role than what they’re currently doing because they want to be here. So that says a lot about our culture,” Sharpe said.

Kelly Blackwelder, police chief of Elon, said she has heard members of the police staff across all levels looking for jobs elsewhere. 

“We’re starting to see that there’s a lot of ‘please be loyal, please be patient, work with us, the town cares about you,’ and not a lot of putting our money where our mouth is,” Blackwelder said during the meeting. “Not a lot of action and follow through.” 

The council also voted to approve a no parking zone on a portion of Orange Drive between Westminster Drive and Early Drive. The council made this decision to improve the safety of driving on this portion of the road. Town Manager Rich Roedner said residents were not asked for comment on this issue. 

Elon Town Council also voted to continue looking into the possibility of adding an occupancy tax on hotels within the town. At the next council meeting, Feb. 13, there will be an open hearing on this topic. 

The tax would be 3% with two-thirds of the tax money going toward promotion and marketing for the town. Council Member Stephanie Bourland said this money could boost the promotional image of the town of Elon. 

“I really feel like this could help us make Elon a destination rather than just a pitstop,” Bourland said during the meeting.