The Buena Vista County Supervisors this week approved 3.5 percent raises for elected county officials, taking a 2.8 percent raise for themselves.
The county Compensation Board last week had called for 5 percent raises for the sheriff, attorney, auditor, treasurer and recorded for fiscal year 2008, with 4 percent for supervisors.
The compensation board, appointed to represent the elected officials, said that the raise was needed to keep the county competitive in pay, and to recognize the workload and performance being turned in the county's leaders.
Supervisor Dale Arends agreed that this is a busy county and that the elected officials provide good services. He was concerned about the proposed raises, however, given the amount that was approved last year.
"We have some new debt, plus additional costs to improve the courthouse. I'm a little uncomfortable with the recommendations simply due to the other increases," Arends said
A motion was made to reduce the recommendations by 30 percent across the board.
Supervisors Chairman Herb Crampton noted that the size of last year's raises was to make-up from prior years when little or no increases were given. He said it is a costly process to fall behind on wage levels and then try to catch up.
Supervisor Paul Merten said he would like to stay away from catch-up situations in which the county would have to give raises of seven to 10 percent in any one year. The motion carried unanimously.
The fiscal year 2008 salaries will be: Attorney-$52,898; $45,266 for Auditor, Recorder and Treasurer; Sheriff-$60,152, and Supervisors-$23,763, plus $500 for the Chairman.
To some extent, the raises trickle down, as they are used in some cases to base salaries for lead deputies in various offices. Pay for the county's general employees is set separately, and has not yet been considered.