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Jefferson Co. OKs $22 million budget

April 05, 2007|by DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The Jefferson County Commission passed an approximately $22 million budget Wednesday despite criticism from one commissioner that a pay raise plan for county employees in the document was unfair.

The commissioners said pay for county employees is an important issue given competitive salaries being offered at government jobs in neighboring states.

Jefferson County government employees were given a 4.5 percent pay raise in the budget, and Jefferson County Sheriff's Department deputies were given raises between 7 percent and 10 percent, the commission said.

Some employees received as much as a 20 percent pay increase, said Commissioner Dale Manuel, who did not feel the pay raises were equitable.

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When Manuel mentioned the issue again later in a meeting Wednesday, Commissioner Rusty Morgan said, "We've heard that, Dale."

"Say something new," Commissioner Jim Surkamp said.

"There we go. That's the problem. Not wanting to hear others' viewpoints," said Manuel, who voted against the budget.

Commissioner Greg Corliss said there are pay inequities already in county government, and county officials will do a wage study to examine the issue. Corliss said the budget sets aside $200,000 for more salary increases that might be called for in the study.

Commission President Frances Morgan said the budget reflected an "explosion" in the demand for public services in the growing county.

About a dozen new positions were created in the budget, including two additional sheriff's deputies.

The commission did not fund a $1 million request to build a new ambulance station in the county, although they increased the operating budget of the Jefferson County Ambulance Authority by about $200,000.

The commissioners did not set any money aside to purchase land off Trough Road to protect the site where the Battle of Shepherdstown was fought during the Civil War.

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