Unlikely Montgomery Co. Employees Will Receive Merit Raises Next Year

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By Jessica Gertler

Pay raises are unlikely for Montgomery County employees next year according to the county commission. This week, commissioners have been hearing budget requests for various county departments for the upcoming fiscal year.

Commissioners say this year, the county's revenue is up around $1 million, and with it, some county departments are requesting more money for next year's budget. However while no decision has been made on whether county employees will receive a merit raise, commissioners say the chances aren't good. 

"Chances are that it probably wouldn't happen this year," says Commissioner Reed Ingram. "Of course, we gave them merit raises last year."

Ingram says he doesn't want to hurt morale, but even with extra money, a pay raise may not be possible. 

"Us being on hiring freeze, our employees are doing more work now, so we want to make sure we are taking care of them. We have done some things this year like giving them off the Friday after the holiday on the Fourth of July," he says.

"If they have already predicted that we are not going to get a pay increase this year, it doesn't set well with me, and I know it won't set well with my employees," says Chief Deputy Derrick Cunningham.

Cunningham says there are more than 300 people that work for the sheriff's office. He says last year they received around a three percent merit raise,  but they should receive a pay hike every year. 

"That's what employees are looking forward to provide for their families with these increases, these merit raises," says Cunningham.

The county commission will continue to work on the budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which goes into effect October 1. Ingram is hoping everything is figured out in the next two weeks.

"We are trying to get it where we are level funded from last year. There have been a lot of requests for increases on different departments. We are just trying to work on that," Ingram says.

Ingram says one of the departments asking for more money is the probate office. He says because of the new voter ID law, it's going to cost money implementing it and educating voters.

In March, commissioners voted to increase their own retirement benefits. Ingram and Dimitri Polizos voted against it. Ingram called it an "unnecessary pay raise." 

The legislature passed it last session, and a special election will be held for voters to cast their ballot on whether it should go through.





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