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NAVASSA, NC (WECT) - Council members in one Brunswick County town passed their budget with just a few days to spare, but not without controversy.
After Navassa Mayor Eulis Willis and Councilmember Jerry Merrick disagreed about council members having a budget workshop Friday afternoon, council members passed the 2013 budget.
But for council member Athelson Bethel, there was some hesitation.
"Because I feel like the budget needed more input from the public, and I think because of the new members on council," said Bethel. "We need more time to go through the budget and justify concerns about the budget."
Part of the new budget will include a $100 dollar increase for Mayor Willis' stipend.
Earlier this week, councilmember Merrick spoke out publically against the idea. During the meeting, he chose not to say anything.
"For the sake of not being badgered, we're public servants, and I don't want it to be as if it's me against him or me taking on the world," said Merrick. "I just want everyone involved."
The budget does not include any tax rate increases. However, sewer rates are going up by $9, and water rates by $5.
"I think it was justified," said Bethel. "The county told us our current rates are causing us to go into default, and if we don't change that, they will take over."
Bethel says that people in District 3 who don't have sewer won't have to pay for it until they get it.
Council members also decided to go with Leland's building inspection, instead of Brunswick County's, as some believe Leland will save the town money.
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