|Raises for county, school employees will be considered for fiscal year 2013-14|
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
By CHARLES BOOTHE - Staff Writer
Most Franklin County government and school employees will get a bonus in December, pending a public hearing next month.
The board of supervisors voted Tuesday afternoon to give full-time employees a $680 bonus and regular part-time employees $340, providing they were hired prior to July 1 2012.
County Administrator Rick Huff presented several options to the board, including raises, bonuses and a combination of both.
"Due to stronger than anticipated tax collections and some small growth in other local revenues, the county has available about $1.2 million in recurring revenues not yet budgeted on an annual basis," Huff said, adding that about $2 million is also available in the fund balance for a one-time expense.
Those revenue increases occurred in real estate and personal property taxes, interest income, and the sales and meals taxes, Huff said. The fund balance has a $2 million surplus above the board's policy of keeping it at 10 percent of the total budget, he added.
Chairman David Cundiff said he would prefer to give a bonus this year and include a possible raise for the 2013-14 fiscal year as part of the regular budgeting process.
"I don't think it's a proper procedure to do a raise at this time," he said, adding that a bonus would be acceptable in time for the Christmas holidays.
Gills Creek Supervisor Bob Camicia agreed, saying it is "much more appropriate" to give raises as a budget is being prepared, but that any bonus given should be "substantial."
Camicia also said the money for the bonus, which will be about $1.1 million, should be taken from the county's undesignated fund balance, not from the extra revenue.
Other supervisors agreed, with Boone District Supervisor Ronnie Thompson wanting the bonuses to go to employees who were hired before July 1, 2012.
That stipulation, he said, made it more fair for longer term employees.
Bobby Thompson, Blue Ridge District supervisor, said he had no problem with the bonus, but employees need "a sounder long-term plan to start building on that (salary) base again."
Cundiff said a salary increase can be considered for next year during the routine budget process, pointing out that the county is picking up the tab for the Virginia Retirement System rate increase as well as a hike in insurance costs.
A public hearing on the proposed bonuses was set for Nov. 20 at 6 p.m.
County and school employees have not had a raise in four years but did receive a bonus last year -- $400 for full-time employees and $200 for part-time employees.