Commission pay raise to kick in; many entities seek spending increases

May 12, 2013 By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

Elected officials and other county entities proposed budgets to the Fremont County Commission in its first week of budget hearings May 6 and 7. Several requests would give raises to employees.

Commissioners will not make decisions on a budget for the fiscal year 2014 for several weeks. Fiscal years start July 1 and end June 31.

County planner Ray Price on May 6 asked for $18,000 more for his office's budget than last year, bringing the total to $346,000. A requested 8.3 percent raise for all his employees added $22,000 to the proposed budget, while other line items were lower.

"That's what the cost of living has gone up since our last cost of living raise," Price said referring to the 8.3 percent raise. "About the only way you can get a raise around here is for cost of living."

He said he also wanted to give some merit raises. Price brought a graph showing the per capita cost for Fremont County's planning department was lower than that of 15 of Wyoming's 23 counties.

County commission

The commission on May 6 also discussed its own budget. The request for fiscal 2014 was for $409,000, about $53,000 less than 2013's budget.

Most of the county board's budget pays salaries and benefits for the Commissioners and part of their administrative secretary, their travel expenses, contractual services, dues for associations and subscriptions to publications.

Eliminating an $80,000 line item for buildings and improvements largely accounted for the difference.

In an interview, Becker said the $80,000 was mistakenly allocated in the wrong line item, and it actually is for lawyer fees. It is not in the proposed budget, even in the appropriate line item, because the Commission does not expect that money will be necessary in fiscal 2014, he said.

Following a 2010 county board resolution, the requested budget includes a $12,000 increase to the total commissioners' salaries, bringing it to $163,000 for the elected officials.

At the meeting, Becker suggested cutting $20,000 under a contractual services line item from the requested budget.

Commissioners also discussed adding $1,500 to the budget for a human resources training program and increasing their travel budget.

Building maintenance

Building maintenance supervisor J.R. Oakley on May 6 presented his budget request, which climbed about $18,000 to $1.076 million from the fiscal 2013 budget.

Oakley would like a 2 percent raise for all his employees and a further 2 percent for discretionary raise. The salary increases would add about $10,000 to the budget.

He said some expenses will be lower, but others will be higher.

Oakley said his department reduced electricity use this year, and spent about $6,000 less for power than it had budgeted. His proposed electricity line item for fiscal 2014 is also about $6,000 lower.

City rates for water and sewer services increased, causing Oakley to raise his budget for those utilities by $6,000, effectively canceling out the savings from energy.

The buildings supervisor said will also request $118,000 from the Fremont County Detention Center permanent trust.

Money from an optional 1 percent sales tax levied to build the detention center started the trust, and it now contains more than $4 million.

The fund can only pay for work on the detention center.

Oakley said the money drawn out this year would pay to replace the sally port doors, buy new washers and dryers, grind and polish the jail's floors and fix part of the roof.

Another project will go to the capital revolving fund, which provides money for building projects and equipment costing more than $10,000.

Oakley will propose a $75,000 upgrade to the county courthouse entrance.

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