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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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School, county employees to see cost-of-living payment

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

By CHARLES BOOTHE - Staff Writer

Franklin County school and government employees will receive a one-time, cost-of-living payment in October.

The board of supervisors on Tuesday approved a plan to give full-time employees $1,000 and regular part-time employees (averaging 20 hours per week) $500.

The move came after county Finance Director Vincent Copenhaver told the board the county has just over $1 million in carryover funds from fiscal year 2013-14. That year ended on June 30 and the final numbers are in with revenue and expenditure totals.

Of that $1 million, $385,000 would be used to cover county employees' payments and about $620,000 would go to the schools.

Copenhaver said the school system's cost for the one-time payment to employees would be just over $1.3 million. The schools have about $600,000 in carryover funding that can be added to the $620,000.

Schools would still have to come up with about $138,000 to make up the difference, he said.

Copenhaver said the plan has been discussed with school board members and they are in favor of the proposal.

County Administrator Rick Huff told the board that a state raise for teachers of 2 percent for the coming year has been taken out of the proposed state budget.

Boone District Supervisor Ronnie Thompson said he would support the plan as long as it was clear the money would be used only for the one-time payments.

Gills Creek Supervisor Bob Camicia agreed and made that part of his motion to move forward with the plan.

The motion passed 6-1 with Snow Creek District Supervisor Leland Mitchell the lone dissenter.

Mitchell said he was concerned that the school system's process for giving raises for the 2012-13 school year included giving some employees higher raises than others.

Camicia explained that was because the school system uses longevity as part of the criteria for raises, and employees are hired with that as a commitment. However, because of the sluggish economy, the long-term employees did not receive the raises that were due in recent years, so they received a higher raise than shorter term employees.

"You have to respect their process," he said of the school board, adding that this money is not a raise, it's a one-time cost-of-living payment that would be the same for everyone, depending on whether they are full or part time.

Copenhaver said the county had a cash balance of $15.8 million as of June 30, and the overall budget was close to projections.

He also said the first two months of fiscal year 2014-15 (July and August) have shown positive economic news for the county. Sales tax figures show about a $40,000 increase in revenue from the figures received during July and August 2013.

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