Supervisors give OK to salary increases, but not as recommended

Friday, January 20, 2023

LE MARS The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors continued discussion and work on the 2023-24 budget on Tuesday.

At last weeks meeting, board members discussed the recommendations of the Plymouth County Compensation Board for salary increases of 9 percent for elected officials and 8 percent for supervisors. Board members differed on what the final number should be and delayed a decision to this weeks meeting.

Supervisor John Meis said, The only thing I will mention is that the state is proposing to cut property taxes, or limit assessed values to like 3 percent at a maximum. If that passes, typically weve held the same tax rate and the assessments.

We do want to be cautious that once they start limiting the assessed values, they wont grow like they did in the past. We will have shrinking revenue at some point, he said.

Auditor Stacey Feldman said the taxable valuation increase on property in the county was 2.8 percent for the current year.

Supervisor Mike Van Otterloo noted, At last meeting I threw out 8 percent for elected and I know we talked just about elected, and if Im wrong correct me, but I think John said 6, I heard Craig whisper a 7.

Kass said he was at 7 and 4 percent.

Van Otterloo said he was concerned about how the percentage on elected officials as compared to the increases for other county employees whose salaries are lower, referring to presentations earlier in the meeting by Sheriff Jeff Te Brink and Conservation Director Nick Beeck on their proposed budgets.

In order to maybe bridge that gap, I would suggest that we think about giving 7 percent to all elected, but we keep the rest of the staff at 9, so we can bridge a little bit of that dollar gap, he said.

Supervisor Craig Anderson said he didnt disagree with Van Otterloo, but wanted to think on the second half of that proposal for a week.

Anderson also shared his thoughts on an increase for the supervisors, looking at a 4 to 4.5 percent increase.

Ive said this before, I dont think anybody here is here for the money. Were all here to help our community. None of us are going to be here forever. If we make the supervisor job too cheap, we are going to discourage the good people to step up that might come up behind us and, I personally, Im good with zero, but Im trying to look into the future, Anderson said.

He pointed out that as part of his supervisor duties, he was in meetings Thursday (Jan. 12) from 9 in the morning until 9:30 at night.

You have to be in such a unique situation to serve in this job, if you have any other employment, youre just about excluded, he continued.

Supervisor Gary Horton added, Since we didnt go with anything for us last year, I was thinking 4 or 4.5 for us, and I was thinking 6.5 on the elected.

Meis said he compared the positions to those in the private sector.

Dont get me wrong, its just what Im looking at from a private industry, government works a lot different than the private, Meis said.

Van Otterloo countered, 6.5 percent is too low, were just spinning our wheels. I think our elected officials are more deserving than that.

I know its tough, Horton said. Weve got good employees, I agree 100 percent. But were working for the taxpayer too. Wheres the balance?

Anderson said the numbers were a little different than he anticipated, but he could live with it. Kass said hed rather see the 7 percent for elected officials.

Horton then made a motion to reduce the Compensation Board salary recommendation for FY 2023-24 from a salary increase of 9 percent to an increase of 6.5 percent for the Auditor, Treasurer, Recorder, Attorney and Sheriff and to reduce the Board of Supervisors salary recommendation of an increase of 8 percent to a 4.5 percent salary increase.

The motion passed on a 4-1 vote, with Kass, Meis, Anderson and Horton in favor and Van Otterloo opposed.

Following the vote, Kass said he voted yes based on the suggestion that the staff does get more.

Meis suggested changing the staff increases to dollar amounts rather than a percentage.

Discussion also focused on keeping good employees and attracting quality employees when needed.

Weve got a number of employees who are hard to replace, Kass said.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: