The Jackson County Commissioners and Jackson County Excise Board held a joint meeting, 9 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 23, in the Commissioner’s Office of the Jackson County Courthouse to discuss the proposed county budget for FY 2013-2014. After stating several examples of a weak economy, Excise Board member Chuck Paris raised a concern for budgeted increased expenditures in the General Fund that includes a $250 per month raise for all county employees.
Paris commented that per email he received from the Department of Defense, the U.S. Army is projected to discharge 26 percent of active duty personnel, and added that government workers at Altus Air Force Base have already been affected by furlough. Additionally he said that there are 425 people collecting unemployment in the county, and that farmers are hurting from the past two years due to drought conditions.
“When you look at all of this, it’s a bad situation, and to me it would be embarrassing to give that big of a raise based on the rest of the economy,” Paris said.
Jackson County Sherriff Roger Levick commented on the difficulty of retaining employees due to pay scales not being competitive with other counties. “You get them trained and they end up going somewhere else, and a lot of it is because of the pay,” Levick said.
Court Clerk Rhonda Stepanovich commented that employees in surrounding counties will still be earning more even after the budget increase. “We are one of the lowest paid counties in the surrounding area,” Stepanovich said. “We’ve done well with our budget and our money and there is no reason not to compensate our employees for their hard work and get them up to a pay scale equal with everyone else.”
County Clerk Robin Booker stated that there have not been any raises in the county in the last several years.
After further discussion, members of the Excise Board approved receiving a balanced budget only, and the County Commissions approved the proposed budget for FY 2013-2014.
During the meeting, Paris also stated that he is planning to resign as a member of the Excise Board.
Commissioners designated Adrian Calhoun as receiving officer for the Jackson County Clerk’s Office. They also approved a Jackson County Health Department Building Maintenance Agreement between JCHD and Michael Alcorta.
Commissioners also accepted the letter of retirement from Jackson County Assessor Gerald Sherrill, effective Oct. 1, and appointed Lisa Roberson to fill in the remainder of the term.
Commissioners also approved last meeting’s minutes and blanket purchase orders. After approval of claims, the meeting adjourned.