County grants 3% raises

Published 1:08 am Thursday, September 28, 2017

The Covington County Commission on Tuesday approved a $17.8 million dollar budget for the fiscal year of 2018 that includes a 3 percent cost of living raise for county employees and elected officials.

Commission Chairman Greg White said it has been five or six years since the commission has had an opportunity to grant across-the-board raises. The total cost was estimated at $150,000, he said.

The budget also included adjustments to pay plans for employees in the sheriff’s department and the county jail.

White said it was because the previous administration cut costs and managed cash carefully that the commission can afford to grant increases in the coming year.

“We hope that we will be successful at economic development and address pay in other departments later,” he said.

A legislative act includes the pay of elected officials in cost of living increases, White explained. But following the lead of Commissioner Joe Barton and Commissioner Tony Holmes who spoke first on the matter, each of the commissioners said they sign the appropriate paperwork to decline the pay increase.

“I knew what the job paid when I ran for it,” Homes said.

Commissioner Kyle Adams, Commissioner Kenneth Northey and White also said they will decline the increase.

“To be clear, this raise and any other one we might pass will be in effect for the next person elected, even if it is declined this term,” White explained.

The budget also:

  • Absorbs the entire cost of a 1.5 percent increase in the in health insurance premiums.
  • Grants retired county workers a one-time bonus.
  • Allocates $15,000 for mental health services in the county jail.
  • Grants $5,000 to the Covington County Economic Development Commission.

White said in the past, the county has funded CCEDC $30,000 per year.

“That was cut to $5,000 last year,” White said. “There was some ongoing dissatisfaction last year among some of the leadership that led to that cut at time. I would like for the commission to be fully at the table with the City of Andalusia, City of Opp, CCB Community Bank, SIB, PowerSouth, CEC and Southeast Gas, and I would like to come back to you with updates later in the year, and possible additional funding.”

  • Has roughly $180,000 in contingency funds.

Commissioners will meet at 9 a.m. Mon., Oct. 2, when they are expected to take up a proposed sales tax increase that was tabled on Tuesday.