Pay Raises Not in Budget for Thomas County Sheriff's Office

A tentative budget was discussed Tuesday and answered the question of which county employees will get pay raises and which ones won't?

Deciding who will and won't get a salary increase is never easy for county officials when balancing their budget, so a compensation study helped them decide.

The report showed the minimum and maximum salary ranges for each county employee.

Mike Stephenson, Thomas County Manager, says, "We currently have about 80 employees who are below the minimum."

Commissioners have tentatively agreed to include $95,000 in the '05 budget for those employees, but still left out is the Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff Carlton Powell is not happy about it. He's been fighting for salaries that are comparable with surrounding counties.

Powell says, "I don't think it's fair to the people working here if I don't secure the kind of money they need to maintain a lifestyle and do their jobs and be compensated for it."

County manager Mike Stephenson says the county has done its best to support the Sheriff's Office budget in the past and will continue to do so if the funding is there.

Mike Stephenson says, "I'm recommending to commissioners to wait until we’re further into next year to see how revenues are doing. We've enjoyed pretty good increase in our sales tax this year."

Stephenson says commissioners are watching the county's finances closely and will address other salary needs in the future as revenues increase.

County commissioners will make final adjustments and approve the 2005 budget on December 14. The county will also meet again with Sheriff Powell about salaries within the Sheriff's Office.