MALONE — Close to half of the 1.91 percent tax-levy increase proposed in the 2013 Franklin County budget will go toward raises for non-union employees if the spending plan is approved.
Department heads and management-level workers have not had a raise for three years, and for some, it has been nearly five years, depending on their hiring date.
The proposed budget stands at $99,740,402, which is 11.4 percent less than this year. The levy, which is the amount to be raised by taxes, is $14,875,816, an increase of 1.91 percent.
Every $148,758 the county spends equals 1 percent of the tax levy.
Legislators have budgeted $156,778 in raises in the coming year. They expect to adopt the overall spending plan at their next meeting, on Thursday, Dec. 6.
The legislature’s Finance Committee proposed the compensation, something members have wanted to do for a few years but felt they were unable to because of the overall economic picture.
They froze management salaries three years ago.
“Some of them haven’t had a raise for four or five years,” said Committee Chairman Timothy Burpoe (D-Saranac Lake). “We do appreciate what they do, and they have gone above and beyond the call of duty.”
He said he understands taxpayers may question the decision, “but we have to compensate our employees.”
Burpoe said the committee looked at each person’s work history, length of service and how long they had been without a raise in determining how much each employee would receive. Raises range from $971 to $3,500.
Burpoe said offering more money may curb the longstanding problem the county faces in keeping employees who can make more money taking jobs in the state-prison system.
“We have a huge turnover of employees going elsewhere,” he said. “We’re training them, and then they leave us to go to the state.