Budget work complete
Polk County’s Budget Committee finalized their budget last Thursday in order to present it at the regular commission meeting this Thursday for approval. A
Polk County’s Budget Committee finalized their budget last Thursday in order to present it at the regular commission meeting this Thursday for approval. A few changes were made to allow libraries to remain open an additional 12 hours and permit future charitable donations. The repeated request by the Administrator of Elections to raise the Deputy’s salary was denied.
Budget Director Kelley Morgan told the committee she had added the extra library hours into the budget, but the library board was also asking for additional money for supplies such as paper and toner. She said they currently had $900 in the line item for supplies and found it hard to believe they would need more than what offices such as the County Clerk use. County Executive Hoyt Firestone said the libraries have never “gone without.” The committee took no action to increase the line item for supplies.
Administrator of Elections Steve Gaddis asked the board for a chance to speak, saying he never had the chance for a discussion about the raise for his deputy Nathan Hitson. He said he wanted to be able to keep a quality worked and it was ridiculous for him to be paid so low.
“No one here at this table can live on $17,000,” Gaddis said. “We all start out at that level,” Morgan replied.
Gaddis said he had to pay for the gas and buy lunch of his last deputy. He said he wanted to see some discussion on it and have a motion to do it or not do it. John Pippenger said he had brought it up to the committee at the last meeting and no action was taken. He said all county workers were on the step program and Hitson got no more and no less than anyone else.
Gaddis said he was considered a state employee and wondered why Hitson should be on the county step-scale. He suggested the county quit micromanaging his office.
“So he should make more than a clerk in Angie’s office,” Morgan asked.
Gaddis said he could not speak for her office, only defend his.
“It’s being cured in other counties,” Gaddis said. “Court cases are curing it. Maybe we have to cure it that way,” he said.
Pippenger asked if those other counties were on the same pay scale. Gaddis said he did not know. He said one guy had told him it took going to court four times before it was resolved. Morgan said if Nathan got a raise they would have to give everyone a raise. Pippenger said benefits should come into play, as well. He said other counties pay 60% of insurance but Polk County pays 80%.
Sheena Gaddis asked if they could look at the way the sheriff’s department was run because it was a separate entity and has its own pay scale. Pippenger said the salaries were still set by the commission. He pointed out there was not even a mandate to have a clerk in the election office. He said the state reimbursed Gaddis’s pay, but not others.
Greg Brooks said he thought the county’s level was more than the state paid. Hitson said Brooks was correct. Sheena Gaddis said other counties were able to pay more. Brooks said everybody in the county needed more money and he agreed Hitson didn’t get paid enough, but the same could be said for those in Angie’s office or Kandi’s office. He said they all should be the same.
Gaddis asked if the county’s deputy register should make more than a janitor and pointed out the janitor was paid more. Morgan pointed out the janitor had been working for the county for years. Hitson will have been working for the county for one year in October and will receive a pay increase when he levels up to the second level, $17, 814.
Sheena Gaddis made a motion to raise Hitson’s salary to $19,500. Randy Collins seconded the motion. The motion failed with Gaddis and Collins being the only two to vote for it.
The charitable contributions line item has been raised to $24,500 from $17,000. Pippenger said there had been a request from People Helping People for a donation. Brooks asked if any donations were made on the East side of the county, such as the crisis center.
Sheena Gaddis asked about the money given to the Boys and Girls Club. She said it had initially be said the $15,000 given to the club was $7500 from 1st and $7500 from 2nd district, and requested $7500 be put in for a contribution in the 3rd district. The money was put into the budget with James Woody passing on the vote.
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