Saturday, September 14, 2013

Daily Journal Reports Johnson County Employees to Receive 2% Raises

From the Johnson County Daily Journal:

County employees will get raises as county council members were able to cut about $1 million in spending on staff, services and programs.

Council members were able to save money by making sure raises were held to a 2 percent maximum and shifting some expenses to funds that are supported by fees instead of taxes, council members said. No layoffs will be necessary.

For example, instead of paying some of the county recorder’s expenses out of the general fund, which is primarily supported through property tax money, those costs were moved to a fund supported by recording fees that are paid when people buy or sell property, council member Loren Snyder said.

Financial consultant Mike Reuter estimated the county would spend $950,000 more than it collects in taxes and fees next year, and council members wanted to cut spending to make up for that amount.

The council also plans to reduce the amount of tax collected for the animal shelter and health department, which have money in savings, in order to increase the amount going into the general fund, council member Anita Knowles said.

Those transfers are short-term fixes since the savings for animal control or health department will be used up in a year or two, she said.

Some increases, including an increase in contributions to employee retirement funds and a 10 percent increase in health insurance costs, couldn’t be cut. Knowles said she is concerned that the county still isn’t setting aside enough to cover insurance costs, which continue to increase.

The county will collect more in taxes from people dining at restaurants if the economy continues to improve, which will help the county have enough to pay its expenses, council member Brian Walker said.