Clay delays move on pay hikes
After delaying salary increases for elected officials, Clay County approved a final 2006 budget on Tuesday. Board members decided they needed more data on what criteria should be used to set elected officials' salaries. Pay for the county's nine ...
After delaying salary increases for elected officials, Clay County approved a final 2006 budget on Tuesday.
Board members decided they needed more data on what criteria should be used to set elected officials' salaries.
Pay for the county's nine political positions has not been raised since 2000, other than inflationary hikes. The county's elected officials make less than the average of their counterparts in eight Minnesota counties Clay County uses for comparison.
The board did approve a 2 percent cost-of-living increase for all employees, which includes elected officials.
County Administrator Vijay Sethi said staff will survey other counties about criteria they use and ask commissioners if they want specific data from the comparison counties.
For example, Commissioner Jerry Waller wants to know what the comparison counties' tax bases are so the board can consider that when looking at their salaries.
Some weren't convinced more information would clarify the issue.
"It's going to be subjective no matter how we decide it," said Commissioner Jon Evert.
"You're not going to be able to compare apples to apples," said Recorder Bonnie Rehder, an elected official.
The board plans to consider the issue again in late January.
In other business, the board:
- Eliminated a surprise $360,000 shortfall that was mostly due to an error in budgeting.
The county planned to use $280,000 in extra fee revenue next year from the recorder's office for general expenses, though Rehder told the board the money could only be used to pay for real estate and tax recordkeeping.
Clay County's $18.4 million levy also failed to cover about $80,000 in expenses not in the initial budget, most of which will go to salary increases.
A county committee found $175,000 in expenses in next year's budget on which the fee revenue can be used. The county will also use an $180,000 insurance dividend to make up the deficit.
Sethi said surplus held over from 2005 or reserves will pick up the additional $5,000.
- Decided against giving a $10,000 donation to Churches United, a Moorhead homeless shelter.
Evert and Ben Brunsvold voted for the donation. Waller, Kevin Campbell and Mike McCarthy voted against it.
The shelter wanted use the money to pay for operational expenses, Evert said.
The board members who voted against the allocation said they wanted to support the shelter, but the county is unable to honor all such requests.
"We have numerous agencies that are barely afloat," Campbell said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Roepke at (701) 241-5535