Roughly 150 county employees will get $512,734 in total raises next year as part of a two-step plan that includes adopting a salary study prepared for the county by an outside firm.
Second District Commissioner Dave Hinson says the money is available with savings from reassessments, health insurance, a higher assessed valuation this year and farming out the county’s information technology work.
He explained the first step of the pay increases will be to bring everyone on board the step system, which will be an increase of $172,551.
Employees will then receive half of their years of service next year as well, which adds up to an additional $295,277.
The employees can expect to see an additional bump in their salaries next year as full seniority is paid as well.
Hinson noted the raises next year will only affect about half of the county workers since many are union employees in the highway department, who are still under a contract for another year.
The county sheriff’s department already has its employees on a step schedule, but the emergency dispatchers salaries will soon be moving under the commission control as the 911 office becomes its own department.
The vote was unanimous to have the county counselor Mark Vincent prepare a commission order adopting the salary study next week, which will put the salary increases in play as elected officials and department heads are meeting with the commission over the next few weeks negotiating individual department budgets for next year.
A copy of the step increase plan was given to county auditor Tammy Vemmer, who is the chief budget officer, on Tuesday.
Vemmer said she will begin plugging the numbers into the overall county budget to see if the salary increases will work next year and be sustainable.
According to the auditor, the tentative 2018 county budget is expected to be $55.9 million, up nearly $4 million from $52.2 million this year.
Franklin County has posted its highest ever assessed valuation at $1,893,350,676 for 2017, an increase over 2016 of $67,810,984.
The salary study, originally presented in July, showed it would take $630,000 per year to bring county staff up to the market standard in earnings.
The study, conducted by Arizona firm Public Sector Personnel Consultants, showed that 40 percent of county employees are earning less than the people working similar jobs in both the public and private sector.
Sixty percent of the roughly 110 job descriptions reviewed fell within 5 percent of the market average.
The study also recommended that all county employees earn no less than $12.50 per hour.
To do this, the study recommended a step increase over the next few years and not all-at-once raises across the board.
When the study was originally commissioned, it was made known to all employees it would have no binding on the future for salaries in the county but instead be used only as a benchmark for future budgeting.
Since each elected official is autonomous, he/she can do as they see fit with respective budgets and staff, and there is no guarantee the salary study will change any employee pay.
But, overall, the county commission controls budgets of all county departments.