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Commissioners vote to delay salary increase

At a meeting Dec. 7, the McDuffie County Board of Commissioners voted to postpone a decision on giving a 1 percent, across-the-board salary increase to county employees.

The board will reconsider the raise when the preliminary tax digest is available in April or May, thanks to a motion by Commissioner Paul McCorkle.

Commissioners will then make a decision on the proposed raise, contingent on funds being available.

The raise was initially proposed by Commissioner Sammie Wilson, who calculated the total cost at $61,000. The money would come from the county's contingency fund.

The board recognized Wilson's concern that county employees have not been given a raise in three years, but several members expressed concerns about where the money would come from.

"As tight as we've been, I'm leery of the coming year," Chairman Charlie Newton said in a Dec. 5 planning meeting. "The things you can normally put off are capital projects, and we don't have any of those budgeted."

At the meeting, Newton also noted that the coming year will be the first in the new government building, so the board has no history of annual expenses in the facility.

"There is money to do this, but every year we get tighter and tighter, particularly on our cash flow," said Don Norton, the county manager. "If we get too close, we may be looking at furloughs."

Commissioners Wilson and Fred Favors voted for the increase to become effective Jan. 1. McCorkle, Newton and Bill Jopling voted to review the proposal in the spring, depending on a favorable tax digest.

"The idea is great, but the time frame is a little premature," Jopling said.

In other business, the board discussed the continued deliberations on the human resources personnel policy.

The policy, created for the county by the University of Georgia, has been discussed in commission meetings and committee meetings for two and a half years.

Jopling, the chairman of the Organizational and Structure Committee, said the policy is tentatively complete. Wilson said he wants further changes incorporated into the document before it is approved. He also wants a review by the county attorney.

"We can work on this forever and never get it perfect," Jopling said. "I think it's very good for the time we've put into it."

The commission will bring the policy to a vote at its meeting Tuesday.

The board also approved a hotel/motel tax ordinance that requires every guest in a hotel in the county to pay a tax equal to 5 percent of the price of rent for the lodgings.

Web posted on Thursday, December 15, 2011

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