The Star Democrat

Commission­ers to consider employee COLAs


DENTON — Caroline County employees may get a belated Christmas present from the county commission­ers in the form of a mid-year cost of living adjustment.

Commission­er Dan Franklin brought up the subject during the commission­ers’ discussion at the end of the Dec. 14 meeting. He said he knew several counties around the state — and specifical­ly on the Shore — have made adjustment­s to help with inflation, which surged to 6.8% in November according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Consumer Price Index.

“I just think we should strongly consider this for our employees,” Franklin said.

Queen Anne’s County, for instance, recently gave county works a 5% COLA; Cecil gave 6%.

A 2.5% increase in January would increase the county’s budget by around $153,000, according to County Administra­tor Jeremy Goldman. He said the county has the revenue to cover it, and for the next budget cycle it would mean an increase of a little over $300,000 for a full year.

“In the big scheme of things, that’s a really small amount to try and bring our folks back up to a level where they’re not going to be in over their head because of inflation,” Franklin said.

Commission President Larry Porter said he was glad the county was in good financial shape but it wouldn’t stay that way if they keep spending money. He said he wanted to be sure they weren’t using any recovery or COVID-19 funding, since raises aren’t the appropriat­e use for that money.

“We have to be able to explain to the people who pay the bills here what we’re doing, where the source of this money is coming from, and how we’re arriving at this decision,” Porter said.

Goldman offered to gather all the numbers and informatio­n, including the cost at both a 2.5% COLA and a 5% COLA, and bring it to the next meeting for discussion.

The commission­ers agreed to put the discussion on the Dec. 28 agenda.


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