Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 20, 2017

Supervisors approve 3 percent raise

By Nicole Major, Ledger staff writer | Mar 14, 2017

The Jefferson County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution Monday to accept the Jefferson County Compensation Board’s recommendation for a raise for all county employees during the 2017-18 fiscal year.

“We had our public hearing [Monday] for the fiscal [2017-18] budget, and we adopted the compensation board’s salary recommendation, which was a 3 percent raise,” said county supervisor Lee Dimmitt, adding that the board also adopted a resolution for the budget in it’s entirety at $12,894,281.

“The bulk of that goes to roads, transportation and public safety,” Dimmitt said. “That budget reflects an overall levy decrease of 29 cents.”

“We wanted to make sure that everybody in the county got a raise,” said supervisor Dee Sandquist.

Dimmitt said the overall budget was tight, and that the ending General Basic Fund balances weren’t as high as he would have liked to see them.

“With the sale of the land, we have around $1.4 million,” Dimmitt said. “$900,000 was from the land sale, and ultimately, that will be earmarked for infrastructure, although it might not all be spent in the coming fiscal year.”

Dimmitt said the supervisors would set priorities when it came to the funds.

“We’re not just going to run out and spend it; this gives us flexibility for the coming year,” he said.

Dimmitt said he was happy with the lower levy, and with the amount of effort that each department head put into balancing his or her own individual departmental budgets.

“I want to thank all of our department heads for reducing that budgets and for finding additional revenue. It’s very difficult and we are very grateful for the hard work and dedication they put into it,” Dimmitt said, mentioning the Jefferson County Public Health Department as one that worked diligently to reduce a projected budget shortfall of $70,000.

“Based on the numbers for the current fiscal year, she was able to generate a little over $50,000 in revenue,” Dimmitt said of public health director Chris Estle.

“She [thinks] she will be short by only $18,000. There are raw numbers at this point; we won’t really know until the end of the fiscal year,” Dimmitt said.

Estle agreed with Dimmitt. She said the shortfall appeared to be $18,700.

Estle said one of the biggest reasons for the shortfall, is due to changes to the VA and Medicaid payment process.

“As of April 1, 2016, Medicaid was changed from one payer, with the state being the payer, to three private for-profit third party payers or Managed Care Organizations,” Estle said.

Estle added that the same held true for VA payments, which are being outsourced to a for-profit third party payer.

Estle said there are are still four more months in the fiscal year, and more revenue could surface.

Sandquist said the slow Medicaid payments were definitely affecting the county.

“[It’s] good news that the funding is starting to come through,” Sandquist said, explaining that when the county’s budget process initially started several weeks ago there weren’t as many MCO payments that had come through yet.

“But now it’s looking good,” she said.

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