September 11, 2013 | Volume 100 / Number 371

5% Raises For Elected County Officials

Hourly Pay Up 86 Cents For Some County Workers; Salaries Were Low Among Counties, Pippin Says

The Valley County Commissioners adopted the recommendation of the County Compensation Board on Tuesday and voted a 5 percent pay increase for elected county officials.

The commissioners also raised the salaries of all non-elected county employees who are eligible for health insurance by 86 cents an hour.

According to Commissioner Dave Pippin, Valley County paid the lowest or next to the lowest salaries of similar counties in Montana.

“We need to raise our salaries,” Pippin said. “We will try to pay as much as we can and not break the bank. We want to keep our good people here.”

The raises given to the 10 elected officials will cost about $30,000, and the total cost of all the raises will be between $200,000 and $225,000.

Commissioner Bruce Peterson voted against the raises for the elected officials.

“I have some concerns,” Peterson said. “Not that (the raise) is not warranted. I want to know where PILT is and about Keystone. I would like to hold off a little bit.”

The other commissioners said the raise had to be decided for the new budget.

Commissioner Dave Reinhardt voted for this raise but served notice for next year’s budget by saying, “Next year when we don’t have money it’s going to be cuts instead of adding taxes.”

The minimum base salary for the county treasurer, the clerk and recorder, the clerk of the District Court, the sheriff and the county commissioners is set at $41,656.31. In addition, the clerk and recorder receives $6,248.45 for the duties as the county superintendent of schools/assessor, and another $2,000 for duties as election administrator.

By action of the legislature, the treasurer, the sheriff and the commissioners receive an additional $2,000.

The sheriff is entitled to receive a longevity payment amounting to 1 percent of the annual minimum base salary for each year of service with the office.

The justice of the peace is paid $23,744.10. The county coroner receives $3,381.05.

The county attorney earns $105,611.94, of which the state of Montana contributes $63,393.

These salaries are effective for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

In other action, the commissioners appointed LeRoy Kountz to the County Planning Board.

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