County workers could get raises - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

County workers could get raises

Proposed 2013 budget has $5.7 million shortfall

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Posted: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 12:15 am | Updated: 9:44 am, Fri Nov 16, 2012.

Kootenai County's elected department heads have prepared a preliminary $87 million budget for fiscal year 2013, with a proposed 3 percent raise for all 700 county employees.

The preliminary budget also estimates a shortfall of more than $5.7 million, if the commissioners agree to all personnel requests, capital requests and additional operating costs.

The commissioners are reviewing the proposed budget and are free to make changes before publishing it and holding a public hearing at the end of the month.

Above all, "the commissioners have taken the stance we would not like to take any of our 3 percent allowable (property tax increase), and to make it go within what we have," said Commissioner Todd Tondee.

Employee raises were a priority for county department heads, said Clerk Cliff Hayes.

Pay increases this fiscal year "got eaten up by health care insurance," Hayes said, adding that he is "particularly interested in the $11-an-hour employee."

The wage increase is estimated to cost $1 million.

The preliminary budget also includes more than $1.6 million in personnel requests, $2.3 million in operating costs in excess of the base budget, and $2.3 million in capital requests.

If all approved, those would add up to a nearly $6 million shortfall, according to the document.

Commissioner Jai Nelson said the commissioners have been meeting with department heads to reduce the figure.

"We've whittled it down," she said, adding that doing so isn't easy. "Now we have to really look at some of the capital requests and some of our base operating costs."

Providing the proposed raises could be difficult, Nelson said.

Especially, she noted, with the preliminary budget also estimating a $102,000 cost increase for involuntary police holds.

"The wages are going to be a challenge," Nelson said.

Commissioner Dan Green said the other officials have also asked the county to take on a $675,000 cost increase for the employee health care plan.

"That's part of the compensation package," Green said. "I consider that a raise."

The other county officials encourage the commissioners to levy more property taxes, according to a letter Hayes sent the commissioners with the budget.

Doing so could accommodate the wage increases, he wrote, as well as the rise in cost for police holds and Panhandle Health District.

The other officials also left $640,000 in the budget for the commissioners to use for personnel and capital requests, with the recommendation they not fund any requests beyond that, he said.

"That's what they can use, without affecting the tax base," Hayes said.

County officials didn't recommend specific cuts to non-mandatory services, as they did last year for the University of Idaho Extension Office and the North Idaho Fair and Rodeo.

"I got beat up last year. U of I, 4 H was a big one," Hayes said, alluding to feared impacts to 4 H, one of the Extension Office's programs.

The county might, however, change its relationship with the Extension Office to a contractual one, Hayes added.

"We gave them money, we gave them employees, we paid their bills, now we're going to give it to the school," Hayes said of what might happen. "They're going to handle all the hiring, paying the bills and doing whatever."

The current fiscal year's budget is $74 million.

The new budget should end up close to that, Hayes said. The $87 million figure includes departments' wish lists, as well as the fee-funded Solid Waste Department.

The budget must be finalized and published by Aug. 15.

A public hearing on the county budget has been scheduled for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 29, in rooms 1A and 1B of the county Administration Building.

Tondee said the commissioners are weighing everything carefully.

"We're looking at the budget and trying to answer all the questions," he said.

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17 comments:

  • Mark on the Park posted at 8:38 am on Fri, Aug 3, 2012.

    Mark on the Park Posts: 471

    The animosity felt towards government employees stems from the fact that, generally, they are not held to the same standard as private sector employees who must be more productive/efficient because the business they work for must turn a profit to stay in existence, unlike government, which simply compensates for non-productivity and inefficiency via, voila - tax increases.

     
  • Cdajon posted at 9:36 pm on Thu, Aug 2, 2012.

    Cdajon Posts: 364

    OK..you're all right. That was mean to say. I'm sorry for that. But I still think that 95% are complacent and lazy..just passing the time till the next check.

     
  • unfortunate posted at 9:05 pm on Thu, Aug 2, 2012.

    unfortunate Posts: 7

    You and I agree on that JoeIdaho. In my opinion, probably more than half could be canned. I actually take alot of issue with how government is run at all levels and the built in inefficiency of the entire government system. It's pathetic. However, when someone lumps over 700 people into the insulting name of "Chubby Sloths", I take alot of issue with that as a human being. There are some really worthless government workers at all levels, no question about that. I guess my point (which apparently was not picked up on) was not to stick up for county workers and their raises, but to point out how stupid it is to put more than 700 people one does not know into such an obnoxiously insulting category. That's it, no more no less.

     
  • JoeIdaho posted at 5:57 pm on Thu, Aug 2, 2012.

    JoeIdaho Posts: 2841

    Too bad, "unfortunate", that you seem to have this need to defend them.
    While the rest of America goes without, government employees get raises on tax dollars that shouldn't have been collected in the first place.
    I say at least half of them should be canned.

     
  • unfortunate posted at 12:06 pm on Thu, Aug 2, 2012.

    unfortunate Posts: 7

    Cdajon, What an ignorant thing to say. With over 700 county employees, the best you can do is come up with a blanket criticism of them all? How many county workers do you know? Feeling that they don't deserve raises is one thing, but to lump a group of more than 700 people into one insult is childish and shows your inability to make a valid argument. While there are some county workers who milk the system and get by, while continuing to get raises, I would venture to say that there are also some who are underpaid for the work they perform. It always makes me laugh when people make comments about how nobody in private sector is getting raises and county workers couldn't hack it in the public sector. Here are some true facts. Most but NOT all my wife and I's friends are college educated, and the ones who are not are still smart and VERY hard working and reliable. Every one of our friends working in the private sector and ourselves have recieved at least two raises in the past four years, some being very large promotions. Being from a family of business owners, maybe the reason those of you in the private sector aren't getting raises IS because of the economy, but equally as probable is that you are a crappy employee who doesn't deserve a raise because you don't do your job well in the first place. We all know you are out there working in the PRIVATE SECTOR. I'm so sick of the blanket insults thrown out at all Govt. workers. County workers are somebody's friend, family and neighbor. While there are no doubt some duds, you will find that in any work environment out there. If you disagree with Govt. workers having raises, then make an intelligent argument, but let the blanket insults go.

     
  • Cdajon posted at 10:20 pm on Wed, Aug 1, 2012.

    Cdajon Posts: 364

    Give those chubby sloths a raise. They need it to buy more candy and chips. These dregs couldn't make it in the private sector. Give them the money so the don't starve.

     
  • JoeIdaho posted at 6:34 pm on Wed, Aug 1, 2012.

    JoeIdaho Posts: 2841

    Got a drivers license yesterday.
    Waited about an hour. Saw (2) personell sit in the back looking at the (2) personell up front who were working. These people work, but not HARD.

    The idea that they constantly "need a raise", (and YES they do) is ludicrous.
    The premise that we give it to them unfettered is worse.

    It'd be GOOD if we had a group of citizens protest this.

     
  • srfost posted at 8:29 am on Wed, Aug 1, 2012.

    srfost Posts: 42

    Apparently you don't comprehend what you read LMY. Where to start? I mentioned that THIS particular article had nothing to do with McEuen park; however, you insisted on making the park an issue when the article had nothing to do with it or the city.
    Next, while I'm sure the city employees would like a 3% raise, it's the city council and budget writing team that are looking at that in the new budget; nowhere in the article about that does it mention the city employees demanding a raise.
    Finally, you might want to learn to spell correctly before you post next time. Oh, and yes, I do live in Coeur d'Alene.

     
  • Tim Herzog posted at 6:56 am on Wed, Aug 1, 2012.

    Tim Herzog Posts: 355

    I wonder if the County Commissioners are trying to get back in good favor with the county employees after previous cuts of benefits etc. It is a well known fact that raises have been put on hold due to the economy and 3% doesn't add up to much.

    Now, does a 3% raise for county employees go across the board? A few years back when raises were given, the Commissioners also were compensated equally and that was a bone of contention because of that 3% increase amounted to a much higher amount due to wages/salaries of elected officials.

    The question is; Are the commissioners wanting to dole out a wage hike for the benefit of the employees or for the benefit of the higher paid officials?

    We have an on going problem in Kootenai County with employee turnover, especially in the Sheriff's Department and 3% will not resolve the issues. The problems at the county go much deeper than a few wage increases.

    We spend taxpayers dollars on shipping prisoners out of the area, approximately $900,000, we lose deputies to other cities & counties after spending 100K or more to train them, and the county fairgrounds as i understand it, costs the taxpayers up to 1M a year over and above revenue generated.

    These are some of the issues that do get much ink in our local paper!

    Maybe this was one of the reasons i was officially endorsed by Kootenai County Deputy Sheriff's Association in the last primary for County Commissioner!

    Tim Herzog
    Former Candidate, District 1, County Commissioner
    www.herzog4taxpayers.com
    I will run again!


     
  • LMYCDA posted at 6:55 am on Wed, Aug 1, 2012.

    LMYCDA Posts: 1782

    Now go back to bed srfost.

     
  • LMYCDA posted at 6:54 am on Wed, Aug 1, 2012.

    LMYCDA Posts: 1782

    Gesssh..do you read the paper........THE CITY WORKERS WANT A 3% RAISE TOO. So, please, don't get down on me...bet you don't even live in Coeur d'Alene.......troll

     
  • LMYCDA posted at 6:54 am on Wed, Aug 1, 2012.

    LMYCDA Posts: 1782

    Gesssh..do you read the paper........THE CITY WORKERS WANT A 3% RAISE TOO. So, please, don't get down on me...bet you don't even live in Coeur d'Alene.......troll

     
  • LMYCDA posted at 6:54 am on Wed, Aug 1, 2012.

    LMYCDA Posts: 1782

    Gesssh..do you read the paper........THE CITY WORKERS WANT A 3% RAISE TOO. So, please, don't get down on me...bet you don't even live in Coeur d'Alene.......troll

     
  • srfost posted at 4:59 am on Wed, Aug 1, 2012.

    srfost Posts: 42

    Sheesh! Really, LMY? This article is about the COUNTY budget not the city, and has nothing to do with McEuen park. Settle down your McEuen addled mind before you post nonsense please.

     
  • srfost posted at 4:59 am on Wed, Aug 1, 2012.

    srfost Posts: 42

    Sheesh! Really, LMY? This article is about the COUNTY budget not the city, and has nothing to do with McEuen park. Settle down your McEuen addled mind before you post nonsense please.

     
  • srfost posted at 4:59 am on Wed, Aug 1, 2012.

    srfost Posts: 42

    Sheesh! Really, LMY? This article is about the COUNTY budget not the city, and has nothing to do with McEuen park. Settle down your McEuen addled mind before you post nonsense please.

     
  • LMYCDA posted at 3:23 am on Wed, Aug 1, 2012.

    LMYCDA Posts: 1782

    Raising property taxes 3%...City and County employees all getting 3% raises...Hmmmm, Mayor & those who voted for McEuen's 11 million plus boondogal....YOU SAID "NO" NEW TAXES. Did anyone really believe a word they said???

     
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