by Ivan Foley
It’s budget time at Platte County, as planning is underway to come up with the financial numbers that will fill out the county’s 2017 spending.
Newly-elected county commissioners John Elliott in the second district and Dagmar Wood in the first district will be taking part in the budget talks, working with Ron Schieber, returning presiding commissioner.
Elliott and Wood officially take office Jan. 1, replacing Duane Soper and Beverlee Roper, respectively. The budget will be approved by the new commission later in January.
The county commission is the chief budget authority. The commissioners are expected to be making tweaks and changes to a 2017 budget proposed by the county auditor, Kevin Robinson.
Robinson’s proposed budget was released last week. Among the interesting points in that document is the auditor recommends a 2.5% pay increase for county administrative employees. In addition, a 1.5% pay increase for commissioned deputies in the sheriff’s department is recommended.
In a written message accompanying his recommended budget, the auditor writes: “The county, in response to commissioned deputy turnover and other external pressures, utilized additional revenues from housing inmates from other jurisdictions and increased the commissioned deputies’ (salaries) mid-year 2016 at an average of eight percent.”
In 2016, assistant prosecutors in the prosecuting attorney’s office, in anticipation of the Department of Labor’s increased minimum annual salary requirement for exempt status employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA), received a pay increase of five to eight percent.
“The 2.5% for the administrative staff follows the state’s wage catch-up plan, designed to reduce the disparity from the private sector,” Robinson wrote.
The county will be experiencing increased costs in employee health insurance in 2017. There seems to be a bit of uncertainty inside the county building as to how much the increase in employee health costs will be. Earlier it was reported the amount of the increase could be as high as $500,000.
A Landmark question directed to Robinson last week asking for the anticipated dollar amount of the increase of the employee health insurance costs had not been answered as of Landmark press time on Tuesday.
More clear in Robinson’s message with his recommended budget is the county’s increased costs for workers compensation insurance. The county’s workers comp rate increases by nearly 28% in 2017. Property insurance costs for the county will increase by eight percent and liability insurance will increase by 15%, according to Robinson’s notes with his proposal.
Wood and Elliott were sitting in on budget discussions on Tuesday of this week.
In other county financial news, as The Landmark first reported last week the county’s sales/use tax revenue through the first 11 months of 2016 has gone down by one percent when compared to the first 11 months of 2015.