Lee County employee, sheriff raises to appear on proposed budget after vote
FORT MADISON (WGEM) - The Lee County Board of Supervisors met Monday for a special meeting to decide whether or not to include proposed raises for county employees on next year’s budget.
Roughly 80 people attended the meeting either in person or online to see supervisors vote 3-2 to include a 10 percent raise for all county employees and a 45 percent raise for Sheriff Stacy Weber, Chief Deputy Craig Burch, Captain Craig Burch, and jail administrator John Canida.
Supervisor Gary Seyb said the turnout was much more than what they usually see for their meetings.
“I think the most I’ve seen in my entire time, I’ve been on for one year, maybe as many as eight, eight to nine,” he said. “Never the turnout that we saw today.”
Seyb, Rich Harlow and Rick Larkin voted for putting the raises in the budget with Ron Fedler and Matt Pflug voting against.
“They had expressed that they had a lot of people talk to them in their districts and that largely they were opposed to those kinds of raises,” Seyb said.
County employees, like auditor Denise Fraise, said getting the raises put on the budget is an important step toward getting their pay in line with where it needs to be.
“The two percent or one percent every year, that’s never going to get us to where we need to be,” Fraise said.
Fraise said better pay will help fill some the gaps that are appearing in the county workforce.
“They’ve went through eight jailers in the last eight months and it’s hard to get somebody to fill those positions at that rate of pay when they can go to another county and make a lot more,” she said.
Seyb said the raises will not have any affect on the county’s tax levy.
He said the average tax levy over the last four years comes out to roughly 10.43.
“The budget that’s presented, with the 45 percent increase for the sheriff, and 10 percent for all other elected officials and their staff, would actually put the budget at 10.32,” Seyb said.
Lee County budget director Cindy Renstrom said the tax levy will go up but not because of the raises.
“Only because we added on the ambulance service and we did not raise any of the general supplemental levy to cover the benefits of the ambulance,” she said. “So we have to increase it to cover those expenses.”
The county budget has yet to be finalized.
It will go before supervisors for them to look over. If it’s satisfactory it will be put out for public notice where people can view it and give their feedback.
After the required time period, the supervisors will then put it to a final vote, a process Renstrom said needs to be completed by March 31.
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