County weighs employee raises
Written by JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN Sentinel County Editor
Friday, 16 November 2012 12:06
The Wood County Commissioners have whittled away at budget requests for next year, knocking off a few thousand here and another hundred or so there.
Now the question remains - how much of a raise will the approximately 800 county employees get?
The commissioners met Thursday for their second meeting on appropriation requests. Very little fat was left to trim, since the county departments have again complied with the commissioners' request to not pad their budgets with any unnecessary items.
"They are coming in with extremely tight and reasonable budgets to help us through this," Commissioner Tim Brown said. "It's been easier with that shared mindset."
Commissioner Joel Kuhlman said it helps that officials don't submit inflated requests for funding, just in case they need it.
And Commissioner Jim Carter said that the "trust level" between county offices helps, since officials know if they have unexpected needs in the year, they can go to the commissioners for help.
As the county has tried to trim its expenses, the employees have seen their step pay frozen for three years.
Last year, county employees received 1 percent raises, but again no step increases. The prior year no raises were granted, and the year before that 1 percent lump sums were given but no raises.
To help the commissioners calculate the costs of possible raises for next year, Assistant Administrator Joe Fawcett presented numbers outlining the expense to the county for raises ranging from 0.5 percent to 2 percent.
County employee salaries this year will add up to about $18.7 million. According to Fawcett, the raises would add:
• $93,326 for a 0.5 percent raise.
• $186,652 for a 1 percent raise.
• $279,978 for a 1.5 percent raise.
• $373,304 for a 2 percent raise.
The commissioners also discussed thawing the freeze they placed on the employee salary steps in 2009.
The county's estimated revenue for next year is $43.7 million. The requested appropriations add up to approximately $37.6 million - without any raises.
The commissioners are not required to have their appropriations completed until Jan. 3.