County employee raises anticipated

By | February 7, 2019 8:12 am

White County Executive Denny Wayne Robinson (left) sits in with the budget committee, on Monday night. On the right is county commissioner Dillard Quick. (Photo by RON MOSES)

By Ron Moses

“We are looking at doing employee raises this year,” said Finance Director Chad Marcum during Monday night’s budget meeting. “That is kind of a goal of ours.”

Marcum said this during his brief update on the state of the fiscal year 2020 budget after stating he has already sent out his budget requests. He said many of the responses have been swift, and, despite the deadline being weeks away, he has gotten many responses. Marcum understands that is a good first step in the realization of setting a budget that will allow time to adjust as needed for such raises.

According to the committee, county employees received a percent-and- a-half raise two years ago, and that was the last time. Prior to that, in 2012, the employees received a 3 percent cost of living adjustment raises.

County Executive Denny Wayne Robinson showed concern with the current system.

“I don’t like these percent across the board raises,” said Robinson. “Every time you do that, it extends that gap between your higher paid and lower paid.”

Robinson said he would prefer a system that sets a specific number on the raise being suggested. Other committee members suggested a merit-based system where allowable.

Also, on Monday night, the budget committee unanimously approved five school federal project funds contingent to the school board approving them on Feb. 14.

The first of the group was subfund 901, which is a special education amendment that allows for a reduction in the allotment of state funds totaling $1,411. According to Marcum, that amount can then be picked up through regular school funds instead of the special education program. They also voted to approve the transfer of $492.31 of additional monies from the special education supplies line to teachers in the program.

Also approved was the subfund preschool grant, which advances an initial allocation of $3,164 toward the preschool program. That amount is in addition to the state’s original grant at the beginning of the school  year.

The “Read To Be Ready Summer Grant” of 2018 has a remaining balance of $169.

“That money was carry over from last year that wasn’t expended by the end of September,” said Marcum. “So, that money gets reduced out of the budget.”

For the new fiscal year, the “Read To Be Ready Summer Grant” totals $30,000. More than half of that, $15,400 specifically, is to be budgeted toward teacher salaries, while $650 is allocated to non-certified subs. $8,825.87 will be spent on instructional supplies and materials. The rest is budgeted toward Social Security, retirement, Medicare and the instructional support program.

A new federal program and grant was also approved. According to Marcum, the program is budgeted for Student Support and Academic Enrichment specifically for the Trauma Informed Schools Grant. The total grant is $1,200.

“This was a competitively won grant across the state,” said Marcum. “This was for the middle school. Trauma being, not trauma like we would typically think of but, trauma like mental issues.”

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