The Jackson County Council has put finishing touches on a 2013 general fund budget of $11.27 million.
The budget, up from $10.94 million this year, requires a proposed general fund tax rate of 39.39 cents per $100 assessed value. Officials expect that rate to drop once assessed values of properties are calculated by the state. The current tax rate is 29.8 cents.
Adoption of the budget Wednesday night, however, didn’t come without a fight concerning how much of a pay raise county employees should receive next year.
“County employees have been given a raise every year since 2005,” council member Brian Wheeler said during the meeting at the courthouse annex.
“The private sector is just not seeing that,” he said. Some people in the private sector have been receiving raises while others have not, he said. “It’s hit or miss.”
Wheeler questioned why county employees began receiving raises after 2005 concerning the hard times that occurred during the recession.
Council member Greg Prange echoed some of Wheeler’s concerns.
“I still think we ought to have a 2 percent increase instead of 3 percent,” he said.
The 2013 general fund budget is just several thousand dollars below projected revenues, and Prange said he would like to see the council have more of a cushion in the event of unanticipated expenses, such as a jury trial for murder.
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