County budget includes pay raises

The Callaway County Commission Thursday afternoon completed preliminary action on the county’s 2011 budget that grants 3 percent pay raises to all county employees.

Presiding Commissioner Gary Jungermann said he is “pleased to be able to achieve a balanced budget with anticipated revenue.

“I feel good about this budget,” Jungermann said. “It is conservative, and at the same time, we were able to provide pay raises to our county employees. They received no raises last year.”

A public hearing on the county-proposed budget has been set for 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 20, at the Callaway County Commission office.

The county plans to spend all but approximately $19,299 in anticipated revenue for 2011.

The budget estimates income of $6,939,418 and plans to spend $6,920,119, making it balanced with no need to dip into the county’s reserves of $3.9 million. Reserves are expected to increase to $4.7 million in 2011.

Jungermann said the budget estimates for income this year were conservative. Sales tax income, for example, was estimated to be the same as last year, even though it grew $180,000 in 2010.

The 2011 budget estimate for revenue is $185,032 more than 2010, and expenses are expected to be $137,159 more than last year’s budget.

“I’m pleased that we were able to provide pay raises to our county employees this year. I have heard reports that counties around us probably will not be giving raises this year,” Jungermann said. “A big factor in our ability to provide raises came from an increase of $180,000 in county sales tax collections this year.”

County Auditor Rosemary Gannaway, who acts as the county’s chief budget officer, said county employees will receive a flat 3 percent pay raise except for some of the larger departments with more employees.

The department directors with the most employees generally have opted to apportion raises based on merit rather than across-the-board increases.

Department directors will receive an amount equal to 3 percent of the salaries of department employees and then decide how salary hikes are apportioned based on merit. The agencies opting for merit increases rather than across-the-board increases are the Sheriff’s Department, Assessor’s Office, and the Road and Bridge Department.

In addition to the pay raises, Jungermann said the starting salaries of jailers were increased, because they were not equal to salaries of jailers in comparable counties.

For the first time, the county will add human resource services for all county employees, Jungermann said. Rather than creating a new department and hiring new staff, he said it was decided to expand the duties of Marilyn Bartley of the County Clerk’s office to include human resource duties.

“We are considering a job title and are trying to find work space for her now. There isn’t a lot of room in the courthouse,” Jungermann said. “We would like for her to have an area where employees could have some privacy to discuss employment concerns with her. We want our county government to become modernized and this is a step in that direction.”

Gannaway said the county will continue to pay 100 percent of the health insurance premiums for all county employees. The health insurance deductible was raised from $500 a year to $1,000 a year. Co-pays also were increased for employees, rising from 10 percent to 20 percent.

Gannaway said it is difficult to estimate the cost savings to the county on the change because it can vary from employee to employee, depending upon use of health insurance benefits.

She said the jail, which was built in 1989, needs approximately $250,000 to replace panels to control cell doors. Several other jail repairs are needed.

Gannaway said $250,000-$300,000 has been set aside for road paving this year.

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