Stark County salaries may rise 6 percentStark County commissioners are looking to increase county salaries across the board after a proposed raise was deemed inadequate during budget discussions at the Stark County Courthouse on Tuesday morning.
By: Klark Byrd, The Dickinson Press
Stark County commissioners are looking to increase county salaries across the board after a proposed raise was deemed inadequate during budget discussions at the Stark County Courthouse on Tuesday morning.
Salaries may be raised as much as 6 percent, depending on available funds. The initial recommendation was for 3 percent, which Chairman Ken Zander said some employees considered a “slap in the face.”
Commissioner Duane Wolf was concerned that an increase of 3 percent would barely cover the increase in the cost of living expenses caused by recent oil activity.
States Attorney Tom Henning agreed.
“When you look at the salary recommendations and you talk about percentages, to me it is a cost of living thing, let’s quit pretending it is something else,” he said, adding that it cannot be considered a “bump in salary.”
Wolf recommended increasing salaries to 6 percent across the board and a shift in oil and gas revenue.
“I am thinking we are going to find we are not going to be able to take care of our infrastructure needs and public safety and maintain our employees by taking care of cost of living, unless we do something a little more innovative,” he said.
The commissioners approved a redistribution of oil and gas revenue. Traditionally, half the oil and gas money was distributed to the capital investment and the other half to the county road fund, but now the money that would have been allocated to the road fund will be placed in the general fund. Wolf said the switch would offer more versatility because money in the road fund can only be used for road improvement, whereas money from the general fund can be distributed to the any division.
The commission will also begin to implement a matrix that compares years of service, merits and title to come up with the salaries of county employees. A wage study was conducted by personnel consultants to compare salaries among counties near Stark County. Multiple commissioners said this is something that cannot be put in effect immediately and would be implemented as funding becomes available.
“At this point we are just going to use it as a guideline,” Wolf said. “We plan on adopting it in phases and we knew that going in because we knew we could not substantiate or sustain the type of cost that is going to be built in immediately.”
The commission is going to compare salary increases of 5 and 6 percent for all employees. Multiple commissioners said the budget cannot go into deficit spending and the raise will be dependent on the outcome of the numbers of the number crunch. The commission plans to meet on Oct. 4. at 8 a.m. in the Stark County Courthouse.