Pay raises will cost Warren $200,000

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 6, 2004

[5/6/04]It will take $200,000 to fund the raises the Legislature has ordered or allowed for Warren County officials, meaning supervisors will have to take a hard look at the tax rates this fall.

“I need more documentation, and without that it will look one-sided,” said District 3 Supervisor Charles Selmon, who is board president, in joining most of his colleagues in a “too soon to tell” stance.

Under the legislation signed Tuesday by Gov. Haley Barbour, supervisors must provide 20 percent raises for Warren County elected officials and may provide the raises to themselves.

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Supervisors have not raised taxes for several years, instead relying on increased property values, assessments and new construction to fund a general fund that has risen to $6,052,127 this fiscal year. The raises will take effect, and the money to fund them must be available Oct. 1, the beginning of the next fiscal year.

District 1 Supervisor David McDonald joined three of the board members who said they would have to look at estimates of potential tax revenues and other budget considerations before they vote on the pay raises for themselves.

Two county officials, the circuit clerk and the chancery clerk, are paid from fees collected in their offices.

Under the new pay raise law, supervisors could see their salaries rise from $37,343 to $44,700.

“I really don’t know,” said District 2 Supervisor Michael Mayfield. “The board needs to discuss this.”

McDonald said he and Mayfield might talk more after they return from a meeting on the Gulf Coast.

“I didn’t run for the money, but we are probably long overdue for a pay raise,” McDonald said. “So, I don’t know what we’re going to do.”

District 5 Supervisor Richard George said the board will have to consider supervisors’ raises when it begins the budgeting process later this year.

“At this point in time with as much discussion going on (at the state level) trying to get their budget in order and the ramifications it could have on our budget process, it could be a very difficult year. It’s something we’ll have to look at mighty hard,” he said.

George said he would rather have had the raises take effect last year so they would be effective with the beginning of new terms in office.

District 4 Supervisor Carl Flanders said he wanted to look at the raises other county employees have received over the past eight years plus what has happened to the per-capita income in Warren County.

“The question is, do the supervisors deserve a 20 percent raise over the course of 12 years?” Flanders said, adding he was considering supervisors have not had a raise in eight years and would likely not get another in the next four years.

“I want to compare numbers and see over the past eight years the increase in salaries,” he said.