Commissioners OK raises

Published 11:50 pm Monday, September 26, 2011

County Commissioners approved a nearly $21 million budget Monday that included a 3 percent raise for employees and commissioners, with no increases in the costs of benefits.

Described as “conservative” by Brenda Petty, county administrator, the budget also includes $19.95 million in expenditures, leaving slightly more than $1 million in the general fund at the end of the 2012 fiscal year.

“This budget includes a lot of things,” Petty said. “There is a 3 percent, across the board, COLA, and the county did not pass on the increase in the cost of participating in the state retirement system.

A local bill approved by the legislature in 2006 (Act 2006-90) grants county commissioners and the commission chairman any “ uniform increase granted to county employees by the county commission at the time of adoption of the county budget.” The line item for commissioners’ salaries in the FY 2012 budget is $122,582.

“Also, our retirement contribution dropped by 1 percent when the state did away with the DROP program and health insurance premiums are level because of the wellness screening we implemented,” Petty said. “It was a tough year, but a good year.”

Commissioners agreed that the improved financial outlook could be attributed to “living within the means.”

“(Departments) watched what they were doing,” said Commissioner Carl Turman. “We need that. The dollars that are put in this budget are from the taxpayers in Covington County.

“We were elected to be good stewards of that money, and I think we’ve done good with that. We need to continue to watch ourselves and not overspend,” he said.

The new budget goes into effect on Oct. 1.

In other business, the commission voted to:

• solicit bids for a new phone system;

• approve a policy adopting the Governmental Accounting Standards Board’s policy on carrying over balances from the previous fiscal year;

• award a variety of bids for items such as petroleum products, motor grader blades; asphalt and limestone.