Lincoln County Commissioners passed a series of resolutions to set cost-of-living increases for county officials and employees at a meeting on June 23.
The actions came weeks after commissioners approved a 1.8 percent pay hike for county employees. County administrator Patrick McFadden said he landed on the figure after studying inflation rates last year.
Rather than pick an estimate of inflation for this year – which is sure to be well over 1.8% – McFadden told commissioners and county compensation board members it was better to take a year delay and base increases on real inflation.
By following this strategy, officials would be able to more accurately factor in inflation seen this year when setting cost-of-living increases next year. Commissioner Jerry Bennett (D-2) argued that despite the gap between the approved increase in the cost of living and the actual rate of inflation this year, county employees have access to benefits that may not not be available in the private sector.
The increased cost of living will bring county commissioners and sheriff salaries to $ 60,560.88. The salary of the justice of the peace is now set at $ 58,560.88. Before the increase, the average base salary for a county employee was $ 44,679.
When announcing the increase in May, McFadden said the pay hike would cost the county an additional $ 86,832 in employee salaries and an additional $ 30,441 in elected officials’ salaries. A saving of $ 36,915 in workers’ compensation insurance and a 12-15% increase in tax revenue due to soaring real estate and housing prices would help the county offset the increase in Cost of life.
In addition to being uncertain of the actual rate of inflation this year, Bennett said commissioners had to decide on salary increases without knowing the county’s income for the coming year. State officials are expected to send county officials the earnings in August.