Newton County BOC sched­ules hear­ings to discuss 2018 bud­get

The Covington News - - LOCAL - DAR­RYL WELCH dwelch@cov­news.com

The Newton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers (BOC) has sched­uled a se­ries of pub­lic hear­ings to discuss the County’s fis­cal year 2018 bud­get.

The bud­get in­cludes a tax in­crease, but no mill­age rate in­crease.

The BOC reached a consensus on the county’s fis­cal year 2018 bud­get June 26 and gave County Man­ager Lloyd Kerr and Fi­nance Di­rec­tor Ni­cole Cross the goa­head to pre­pare the fi­nal bud­get for pre­sen­ta­tion this month.

Com­mis­sion­ers ten­ta­tively agreed to main­tain the county’s cur­rent 13.441 mill­age rate which, be­cause of an in­crease in prop­erty tax as­sess­ments, will re­quire a 10.95 per­cent tax in­crease.

The pro­posed bud­get calls for a 5 per­cent Cost of Liv­ing Ad­just­ment (COLA) for county em­ploy­ees ex­cept sworn deputies and fire service field op­er­a­tions per­son­nel.

Fire­fight­ers and deputies are sched­uled to re­ceive mar­ket ad­just­ment pay in­creases con­sis­tent with the Mar­ket Anal­y­sis and Rec­om­men­da­tions study pre­sented to the BOC in May.

The raises will be phased in in two in­cre­ments with the 5 per­cent be­ing split with em­ploy­ees re­ceiv­ing a 3 per­cent in­crease in July and the remaining 2 per­cent in Jan­uary 2018.

Em­ploy­ees re­ceiv­ing mar­ket ad­just­ment in­creases would re­ceive half of the raise in July and half in Jan­uary 2018.

Low salaries are seen as an im­ped­i­ment to at­tract­ing and re­tain­ing qual­i­fied and ex­pe­ri­enced County em­ploy­ees, es­pe­cially deputies and fire­fight­ers. Com- mis­sion­ers are hop­ing the pay in­creases will help ad­dress that prob­lem.

The bud­get plan also calls for the County to trans­fer $250,000 into its cash re­serves, $100,000 into its fund bal­ance and $354,891 into its con­tin­gency fund.

The bud­get hear­ings are sched­uled for 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. on July 18 and 6 p.m. on July 25. All hear­ings will take place in the board­room at the His­toric Court­house.

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