1% pay raises contemplated for county employees

Friday, June 10, 2011

A 1 percent pay raise for Marshall County employees paid through the general fund is under consideration by budget committeemen, according to their discussion recently.

No decision has been made, Commissioner Mickey King said, explaining the discussion in the County Courthouse Annex was "just to know were we are and to have something to think about."

County Accounts and Budget Director Freda Terry reviewed the situation for the commission's Budget Committee chaired by Commissioner Barry Spivey.

The employees affected by these discussions work for the offices in the Annex, the Courthouse, the Sheriff's Department, those under the general budget working at the Hardison Office Annex and other locations, but it does not include teachers or other school employees.

"We have a seven-step program that takes seven years to get to the last step" on the pay ladder, Terry said.

A one percent pay rate hike without adjusting the steps would cost $41,130, the budget director said. A one percent pay raise with a proposed increase in the step program would cost $108,091.86.

"During the last two years, there have been no pay raises and no step increases," Terry said.

Acknowledging the two-year period without pay raises, King noted, "A lot of the employees here have been here a long while."

Furthermore, if the step increases were the only part of the plan that was adjusted, then, "A lot of people wouldn't be helped," King said.

Meanwhile, budget committeemen continue to examine the county's general spending plan so they can make recommendations for the fiscal year budget of 2011-12. The fiscal year starts on July 1. County commissioners usually approve a continuing resolution so that spending may proceed at a rate as approved last year for this fiscal year. The county budget is usually passed in mid July.

Details include matters as mundane as funding for the county museum and as deadly as paying the coroner's costs.

Budgeting money for the coroner is "a shot in the dark," King said, noting a point made by the budget director.

"State law says that if you die in an accident or at home alone, there will be an autopsy," Terry told budget committeemen. Autopsies cost about $6,500 each. The last payment for such services brought spending on that to nearly $40,000 this fiscal year.

For space at the Hardison Office Annex, the County Museum pays $1,800 in rent annually, according to the committee's discussion. The county's budget receives that money and donates it back to the library for its operations.

The committee's deliberations were scheduled to continue Thursday afternoon.