Second District Commissioner Mike Schatz

Two Franklin County commissioners seem to have conflicting views on the likelihood that employee raises can be given next year.

Presiding County Commissioner John Griesheimer said last month that he feels confident that employee raises can be given next year.

It appears the county’s sales tax revenue could be picking up to help fund raises, Griesheimer said.

But Second District Commissioner Mike Schatz told The Missourian on Tuesday that he is holding firm to his previous stance that raises may not happen next year.

“I’m just not going to go out on a limb right now and say that’s possible,” Schatz said.

However, if the money is available, Schatz said he would like to give raises.

Griesheimer is a “true optimist,” but Schatz said he is taking a more cautious approach.

Schatz said he does not want to get more than 300 employees’ hopes up only for raises not to come through. It is simply too early to say whether raises will be given, Schatz said.

It is unclear how insurance rates may change next year, Schatz said.

While sales tax revenue is higher this year than it was last year, it is not a big enough increase to cover raises for all county employees, Schatz said.

The sales tax report through May indicated that collections were up $176,323 over last year.

The county’s unemployment rate is also improving with the April rate the lowest it has been in more than four years.

Schatz said there is always concern that the county could lose employees to other jobs. But he said he must be fiscally responsible with taxpayer money.

He said he does not want any employees to leave, but he can’t fault them if they take an opportunity to make more money.

County employees have not been given an across-the-board increase since 2008, but workers did get a one-time $700 bonus in 2011.

Some smaller counties pay their workers more than Franklin County, and Sheriff Gary Toelke has said that some of his deputies are seeking better paying jobs with other agencies.

County employee morale is reportedly low.

First District County Commissioner Tim Brinker was out of the office this week.