The Monroe County Compensation Board gave their proposal on salaries for elected officials to the board of supervisors Tuesday, then gave them an ear full in terms of accepting those proposals.
Under the Iowa Code, a county compensation board makes recommendations for salaries to boards of supervisors and the supervisors can either accept the proposals or lower them. They can’t go any higher.
Representatives for most of the officers were at the meeting, including Randy Stafford, Doran Haywood, chairman Dean Bettis and Tony Archibald.
Their recommendation was a five percent increase for the Monroe County Attorney ($3,269, raising a $65,386 salary to $68,655); Monroe County Sheriff ($3,200, raising a $64,003 salary to $67,203), Auditor, Treasurer and Recorder ($2,743, raising salaries of $54,864 to $57,607) and Supervisors ($895, raising $31,966 salaries to $32,861).
Bettis told the supervisors that even with the proposed five percent increases, Monroe County was still behind most other Iowa counties. In terms of population, Monroe County ranks 87th in the state. Appanoose County is 61st, Davis is 83rd, Lucas is 85th.
Compenstation board member Stafford said averaging all county salaries, Monroe County is ranked 84th out of the 99.
In looking at the county attorney, Monroe County is ranked 85th at $63,946 (Lucas is 94th at $52,912, Davis is 90th at $59,213 and Appanoose is 51st at $89,327).
In terms of the Monroe County sheriff, his salary is $62,593 (ranked 90th). Appanoose County pays $74,547, Davis $64,067 and Lucas $63,047.
In terms of the Monroe County auditor, treasurer and recorder, rankings have fallen from between 68th and 73rd to between 71st and 83rd.
Those three officers are all paid the same, $54,864. Appanoose County pays $55,847, Davis County $49,182 and Lucas County $49,372.
Supervisor’s salaries are ranked under the 50th in the state.
“What we run into is no one from the board of supervisors is willing to come to our meetings to tell us what money is available for raises,” said Archibald.
Supervisor John Hughes said that in the past the county did not have the money to provide for the raises recommended by the compensation board.
“There is no communication,” Archibald pressed. “We don’t know what we have to play with.”
Supervisor Dennis Amoss said that the county had “pretty much stayed with raises bargained for by the secondary roads and law enforcement unions.”
Providing any more in salary raises for courthouse elected officials would mean raising taxes, Amoss said. “I’d like to give everyone raises,” added Hughes. “But you’ll have to raise taxes.”
Stafford argued that unless salaries kept pace with other counties, good people would not be attracted to county elected office or those elected officials deputies. (Deputies receive 85 percent of the elected officer’s wage).
Archibald told the supervisors that a 2.8 percent increase was break even. “Any less and you’re cutting salaries,” he said.
Both Hughes and Amoss said they would attend next year’s compensation board meetings, even though their representatives were already present.
In other supervisor’s business, the resignation of Brian McKinney from the planning and zoning commission was accepted. McKinney has moved from the county.
The board voted to approve the county’s ICAP insurance coverage.
Nicole Moore was on hand two discuss the county’s Hazard Mitigation Plan and give a planning and zoning update.
Moore said the hazard mitigation plan needs updating every five years and this is the update year. She said the county needed to budget around $30,000 but Chariton Valley Planning would seek state and federal grants to help pay for the work.
She also discussed the county’s Comprehensive Plan that was started several years ago but never completed and approved. “The main body of information is just not there,” she said. “We’ve got some good notes and could hold off another year, but it’s going to be a $50,000 budget item.
At the same time, she said the planning and zoning ordinance needs a major overhaul and that would come at a cost of about $35,000. She said her team would do all of the work. Supervisor Mike Beary asked if an outside consultant would be needed and Moore said her staff, public input and ISU Extension is all she really needed.