Salary hikes to be reviewed in Berkeley County

March 20, 2006|by ROBERT SNYDER

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The 11th-hour passage of a bill by the West Virginia legislature that will increase salaries for local elected officials fetched some last-minute adjustments last week to Berkeley County's upcoming $22.85 million budget, which county commissioners are set to approve Thursday.

The commission moved about $76,702 from the general county portion of its Home Confinement revenue account following passage of a bill by state lawmakers that gives 20 percent pay increases to three of Berkeley County's four constitutional officers and three-member commission, County Administrator Deborah Hammond said.

The bill included a provision that capped a salary increase for the county prosecutor at $13,000.

Circuit Court Clerk Virginia Sine, who went to Charleston, W.Va., last week to lobby for the measure, called the increases long overdue.

"We haven't gotten a raise in four years," Sine said.

The elected officers' raises accompany a new salary structure approved by the commission last month that will add more than $587,000 to the county's $6.7 million payroll for its 277 full-time employees.


On Thursday, the commission made two final adjustments to the salaries of the county's human resources director and administrator positions, adding $12,000 total to the increases the positions are also set to receive under the newly approved pay structure.

The human resources director will now earn $62,972, while the administrator will be paid $81,000, making that the second-highest paid position in the county, behind the prosecuting attorney.

Commissioner Ron Collins, who proposed the additional increases, argued for them based on comparisons of salaries in nearby jurisdictions.

"It looks like a large increase ... but if you take this market analysis in the business world, you're going to find these figures are going to be a lot higher," Collins said.

The county's budget for fiscal year 2006-07 is projected at $22.85 million, commissioners said. It comes with what will soon be the lowest property tax rate in the state, with the commissioners poised to approve a 10.02 cents levy per $100 of assessed value on Class I properties, a 1.63 cent reduction.

At $10.8 million, revenue from property taxes accounts for just under half of the county's overall budget, Hammond said.

How much

Raises for county elected officials in Berkeley County (listed by position, current salary and approved salary):

  • Assessor; $37,400; $44,880

  • Sheriff; $37,400; $44,880

  • Circuit clerk; $46,200; $55,440

  • County clerk; $46,200; $55,440

  • Prosecutor; $83,600; $96,600
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