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Some county workers to get raises

Clark County commissioners approved a $163 million total budget this week, as well as what will amount to a 40 cent per hour raise for the county’s non-union employees.

About 230 non-union employees in the general fund budget are eligible for the raises, which will cost about $200,000. Overall, the county has about 1,200 employees, but those include numerous employees in the Department of Job and Family Services, the Clark County Combined Health District and similar agencies that are covered under a separate funding source.

While the raise was approved unanimously, Clark County Commissioner Rick Lohnes said he would have preferred to offer employees a one-time bonus, which would not lead to higher costs for the county in the long-term.

By approving the 40 cent per hour increase, Lohnes also said employees on the lower end of the pay scale would receive a larger percent raise than employees who earn a higher income. The raises represent about one half of one percent of the general fund budget, County Administrator Nathan Kennedy said.

The commissioners also approved a 2 percent raise for non-union employees last year, Lohnes said. At the time, it was the first cost-of-living increase since 2008.

Overall, the county’s general fund budget for 2013 will be about $37.5 million, Kennedy said. The budget is about $1.1 million more than last year, Kennedy said, in part due to increases in sales tax and additional casino revenue. About $450,000 of that revenue, however, will be set aside in the county’s rainy day fund, to guard against the possibility of any cuts in the upcoming state budget.

The goal is for the rainy day fund to be at least 15 percent of the general revenue budget, Kennedy said, or about $5.6 million. Right now the rainy day fund now only stands at about $2.2 million. The additional $450,000 will be used to help rebuild the fund in case of an emergency. If the county receives a funding cut from the state, the money could also be used to prevent layoffs.

“We’re just trying to get ourselves into shape again,” Kennedy said.

Some of the additional revenue, about $300,000, also will pay for budget increases for the Clark County sheriff’s office due to the county’s collective bargaining agreement. The Clark County Common Pleas Court also received about $250,000 in additional funds.

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