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It’s a start.
That was the summation of the Navarro County Commissioners Court Tuesday after proposing small salary increases to some of the lowest paid clerks in the courthouse.
The decision came at the end of several hours of budget meetings Tuesday, with the suggestion to increase the pay of clerks in the courthouse making less than $28,000 annually to a base pay of $28,000. The move will cost the county about $42,000, said County Auditor Kathy Hollomon.
Hollomon said the move would affect a total of 24 clerks in the courthouse, each getting raises of between $450 and $1,600 to their annual salary, to make their “base” salaries $28,000.
Commissioners and several office holders discussed the disparities in some clerks’ salaries at the courthouse, with some longtime employees making as much in “base” salary as others with many years less service. A longevity bonus — paid once annually to long-term county employees and increased each year — does provide some additional salary at year’s end, but doesn’t do anything to bring parity among the various clerks in different courthouse offices.
The court’s decision to include the raises in the budget was unanimous.
“I’m comfortable tweaking the lower end people and not the higher end people,” said Pct. 1 Commissioner Kit Herrington.
At some point, we need to get some ‘light’ jobs closer to what they are,” said Pct. 4 Commissioner James Olsen. “That would at least be a start.”
“We do need to help them,” agreed Pct. 2 Commissioner Dick Martin, adding “it’s not going to be popular with a lot of people, I’m sure.”
County Judge H.M. Davenport Jr. said that next year there needs to be more discussions on salaries and “tweaking” that he feels needs to be done in some county offices.
With the latest round of adjustments to the proposed budget, the county is still facing a deficit of between $800,000 and $900,000, said Hollomon. Her last projection for the end of the current budget year was “closer to break even than a $750,000 deficit.”
Another workshop on the budget has been scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday, Aug. 20, a meeting in which most changes that are going to be made to the plan need to be completed, in advance of a series of public hearings beginning on Aug. 27 on both the proposed budget and tax rate.
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